IMPALA raises ‘serious’ concerns over Sony and EMI deal

Helen Smith, IMPALA

Independent music trade body IMPALA has raised concerns over the “excessive bargaining power” Sony will have should its buyout of EMI Music Publishing go through.

As announced earlier today, Sony Corp will soon own 90% of EMI Music Publishing, following a $2.3bn cash deal with Mubadala Investment Company.

The deal values EMI Music Publishing at $4.75 billion and is subject to certain closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

Sony is already the owner of the world’s largest music publisher in Sony/ATV, which controls over 2.3 million copyrights, while EMI Music Publishing owns or administers over two million songs.

Executive Chair of IMPALA, Helen Smith, said the deal is a “step too far” in reinforcing Sony’s market-leading publishing position and risks excessively reinforcing its “duopoly” alongside Universal.

IMPALA members warned that the agreement will face regulatory opposition because it could stifle competition online and offline.

Smith 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.”

helen smith, impala

This is a step too far and I would expect to see an in-depth investigation in the EU and other key jurisdictions.

“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.”

IMPALA raised concerns back in 2012 when the European Commission cleared the acquisition of EMI publishing by a consortium including Sony/ATV, and then again in 2016 when the Commission cleared Sony’s move from joint to sole control of Sony/ATV.

The trade body says that today’s news shows that ultimately, Sony is taking complete control of EMI publishing, and the initial deal was structured as a consortium to get this latest bid approved by the regulatory authority.

Music Business Worldwide

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