Sony Corp has been given the green light by EU antitrust regulators to buy out the Michael Jackson estate’s 50% share in its Sony/ATV publishing business.
The deal now means that Sony Corp will own the copyrights to The Beatles catalogue and music by Taylor Swift.
According to the European Commission the deal would not harm competition in the recorded music and music publishing sectors.
"The transaction will not materially increase Sony's market power vis-a-vis digital music providers compared to the situation prior to the merger," the EU competition enforcer said in a statement.
Earlier this year, the Independent Music Publishers Forum, which represents independent music publishers worldwide, joined Warner Music Group and Impala in expressing its "concern" regarding the agreement between Sony Corp. and the estate of Michael Jackson for the purchase of the remaining shares of its catalogue in Sony/ATV.
For IMPF, the transaction worth an estimated $750m, would lead to a "concentration of catalogue in the hands of Sony ATV, a company which arguably holds some 30% of the music publishing market," and would "put further strain on pricing and give Sony/ATV even more negotiating power on deal terms with over the top companies in the music market."
Pierre Mossiat, president of Brussels-based IMPF said that "IMPF intends to complain to the European Commission over the acquisition which needs to be carefully considered not only on the grounds of the distortion of the market it will cause, and in particular to independent music publishers, but also in the long run, the risk of reduced consumer choice and increased prices".
More details and industry reaction to follow.