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AIM Statement Following 6th March Board Meeting
By Mi2N
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At AIM's regular board meeting on March 6th, the directors of AIM discussed the Warner agreement with IMPALA in more detail.

The board concluded that they are broadly supportive of the Warner/IMPALA agreement. To be sure that this positive recommendation on the terms and conditions of the legally binding Heads of Agreement has the full support of AIM's members, the Board will ask the members to reconfirm their position - that mergers without remedies to the independent sector, from the EC and/or the parties - will not be acceptable to independent music companies.

AIM will canvass the membership on this principle, to ensure that any ratification of this deal is broadly in accordance with the wishes of its members, before disclosing in more detail the terms contemplated under this agreement. The Board also wishes to have extensive input into the implementation of the agreement, and would like members to have a full understanding of the role Merlin will fulfil for the global independent sector.

With SonyBMG now into the second stage of an EC re-examination of a merger, which was annulled by the Court of First Instance in July 2006, and with Universal's proposed acquisition of BMG Music publishing (also into a second stage investigation), the principles and position of the UK Independent sector are crucial to the shape of this industry in the years to come.

Over the last seven years, the independents have established that there is a voice to be heard, and an irrefutable problem of concentration in the European music market which must be acknowledged and remedied to ensure that the goals of open market access and a level playing field for fair competition are achieved.

Jeremy Lascelles, CEO of Chrysalis Music Division, and AIM's deputy chairman said, "Now that the board has had the opportunity to fully understand the details of the remedies that IMPALA has been able to negotiate with Warner, and has had a chance to discuss and debate the issues internally, a much clearer picture emerges. And it is a picture that contains a number of points that will be hugely advantageous to the independent record community."

Alison Wenham, chairman and CEO of AIM, commented, "Following the board meeting yesterday, we will now canvass our members on the principle of whether the independents should continue to oppose mergers without remedies for our sector. Yesterday's board meeting was an important step forward in the necessary process of ensuring that we act in accordance with our members' principles and wishes on all this all-important issue, and the Board's broad support for the next stage is welcomed by me."

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