SonyBMG Merger Likely To Win EC Approval Again – Report

The European Commission is likely to give a final, final approval to the merger of Sony Music Entertainment and BMG Entertainment, which is on hiatus after a court last year overturned the 2004 deal on appeal from independent labels, reports. Anonymous sources told the paper competition regulators would clear the deal with no conditions, with the looming October 10 deadline now said to be giving too short a period for the commission to block the deal or propose a compromise: “The Commission is thought to have finalised a draft brief in which no remedies would be imposed.”
A court last year overturned the wave-through the commission gave to the 50/50 deal in 2004, arguing it had not properly reasoned there was no music industry monopoly. The second hearing was earlier reported to have accounted for current market conditions including growing online music sales, but was paused in March when commission scrutineers became deluged by the amounts of information they requested. The prospect of the SonyBMG merger being struck off on antitrust grounds had been one considering in the lengthy merger flirtation between EMI and Warner Music Group, so the news may stir relations between WMG and EMI’s new private equity owners.