Commission Confirms Approval Of Recorded Music Joint Venture Between Sony And Bertelsmann
The European Commission has confirmed clearance under EU merger control rules for the creation of Sony BMG, a joint venture combining the recorded music businesses of Sony and Bertelsmann, after concluding that the transaction would not create or strengthen a dominant or collectively dominant position in the music markets in the EEA (as regards EU Member States, restricted to the 15 countries who were members before 1 May 2004). The merger had first been approved by the Commission in 2004 (see IP/04/959). Following the annulment of this approval by the Court of First Instance in 2006, the Commission has conducted an in-depth re-assessment of the merger.
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes commented: "This investigation represents one of the most thorough analyses of complex information ever undertaken by the Commission in a merger procedure. It clearly shows that the merger would not raise competition concerns in any of the affected markets."
Before its absorption by the joint venture, Bertelsmann Music Group was a subsidiary of Bertelsmann AG, a German-based international media company whose activities also include television and radio production, broadcasting and book and magazine publishing. BMG's music labels included Arista and Jive.
Sony Corp of America belongs to the Japanese Sony group whose activities include consumer electronics and the entertainment industry besides the music recording and publishing business. In recorded music it acted through Sony Music Entertainment, which owns the Columbia, Epic and Sony Classical, among other labels.
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