Impala criticizes EU decision approving Sony deal with the Michael Jackson estate

By Nicole Daniel

In August 2016 the trade body Impala heavily criticized the European Commission’s decision to clear a deal between Sony Corporation of America and the Michael Jackson Estate, arguing that the deal reinforces Sony’s market power.

Sony Corporation of America plans to buy the Michael Jackson estate’s half of the music-publishing joint venture Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

The Commission conducted a preliminary investigation during which it also examined the views of competitors and consumers. Accordingly, Impala raised concerns that this transaction might lead to a reinforcement of Sony’s market power, thereby creating serious competition issues. Impala even described the buyout as “transformative” and asked the Commission to impose tough remedies or open a Phase 2 investigation.

The Commission, however, was of the opinion that there would be no negative impact in any of the markets for recorded music and music publishing in the EEA from the transaction. Furthermore, the Commission found that compared to the situation prior to the transaction, the merger will not materially increase Sony’s market power as compared to other digital music providers.

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