Don’t expect indie music organizations to back down from their strong opposition to Sony’s EMI deal.
Several months ago, Sony made a surprise announcement.
The multinational conglomerate would pay $2.3 billion to gain a controlling stake in EMI Music Publishing. This would easily make Sony the world’s largest publisher, granting it the rights to 2.1 million additional songs, including hits from Drake and Pharrell Williams, among many others.
After signing a deal to purchase Mubadala Investment Company’s 60% equity interest in EMI for $2.3 billion, Sony had a 90% stake in EMI. Then, the Japanese conglomerate revealed it had acquired the remaining stake from the Michael Jackson Estate for $287.5 million.
Yet, not everyone approved of the deal, which remains subject to regulatory approval.
In August, the Independent Music Companies Association (IMPALA) confirmed it had filed two complaints with the European Commission. According to the organization, which represents the European indie music community, Sony would eclipse the competition in Europe.
Railing against Sony’s acquisition, Helen Smith, Executive Chair at IMPALA, said the transaction would “disrupt competition and harm consumers in an already overly concentrated music market.”
Now, Sony – along with the rest of the music industry – will know if regulators will approve the deal.
By October 26th, the Japanese conglomerate will know whether European Union antitrust regulators approve the acquisition. The company had filed for approval last Friday.
Under current rules, the Commission generally has 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval. Regulators could also decide at that point to start an in-depth investigation instead. The European Commission had previously approved Sony and Mubadala’s acquisition of EMI in 2012.
Don’t expect IMPALA to back down from its opposition to the deal, however. Stating the only solution regulators have is to “block the deal now,” she explained,
“This is necessary to avoid long-term harm for consumers as well as other players in the music sector, from writers to streaming services, independent publishers, collecting societies and record companies. It also goes against key European objectives in terms of cultural diversity and SMEs and cuts across the EU’s digital single market strategy.”
Featured image by Cliff (CC by 2.0).