IMPALA has called for the European Union’s competition authority to probe the deal Sony Corp has made to significantly increase its stake in EMI Music Publishing.
The European trade body for the independent sector has reacted to the deal today by describing it as “a step too far”. The $2.3 billion (£1.7bn) agreement with the Mubadala Investment Company would give Sony a controlling stake.
But IMPALA has suggested that the move will face regulatory opposition following notification of the deal to the European Commission, the EU’s competition authority.
Helen Smith, executive chair of IMPALA, said: “The European Commission will want to avoid reinforcing the Sony/Universal duopoly, the two horse race which started in 2012 with the sale of EMI. This is a step too far and I would expect to see an in-depth investigation in the EU and other key jurisdictions."
The European Commission cleared the acquisition of EMI Publishing by a consortium led by Sony/ATV in 2012. In 2016, it approved Sony’s move from joint to sole control of Sony/ATV.
Smith added: “Today, Sony is already by far the world’s largest music publisher and an indispensable trading partner controlling over 2.3 million copyrights. If this sale was to happen, its market power would be reinforced with serious competition issues, including excessive bargaining power when negotiating with collecting societies and the authors they represent, as well as other actors in the value chains such as labels and online services.”
Sony Corp declined to comment.