Indie Music Group: Regulators Will Block EMI Deals With Universal, Sony

Even if UMG increases its promise of divestitures beyond 500 million euros, IMPALA argues the deal would not be accepted.

NEW YORK - IMPALA, a European trade group representing independent music labels, said Friday it expects regulators to block the sale of EMI's recorded music business to Vivendi's Universal Music Group and an expected plan to sell its music publishing unit to a group led by Sony Corp.

The Independent Music Companies Association, originally known as Independent Music Publishers and Labels Association, said it would oppose the deals.

Said Impala executive chair Helen Smith: “Given that Brussels has taken a previous decision that Universal should not be any bigger, we would expect the sale to Universal to be blocked outright, even if it offers to increase the divestments it is prepared to make. The same would apply to Sony if it buys EMI publishing."

Even if UMG increases its promise of divestitures beyond the 500 million euros that it vowed to make, the deal would not be accepted, the trade group argued. It highlighted that the last time the European Commission looked at UMG, "it ordered the company to sell off assets to cut it down to an acceptable size."

Since then, UMG has grown, "which makes it even less likely that the regulators would accept any new acquisitions," the group said.

IMPALA was created in April 2000 to represent independent music companies.

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