Universal Music Group's deal to acquire EMI's recorded music division faces a key vote from European regulators next week, which sources tell Bloomberg will pave the way for the European Union's decision. Representatives of national competition agencies from the 27 EU states must give their opinion on the UMG-EMI deal before the EU commission can deliver its final ruling.
According to Bloomberg, a positive vote from these national agencies could then allow the EU regulators to make their decision as soon as a September 19 meeting.
Meanwhile, the American Antitrust Institute has released a white paper report urging the Federal Trade Commission to block the UMG-EMI deal. Titled "Music Industry Consolidation: The Likely Anticompetitive Effects Of The Universal/Emi Merger," the paper authored by Flavia T. Fortes argues that "Based on an analysis of publicly available information, we believe Universal's acquisition of EMI's recorded music division may substantially harm competition in the U.S. markets for physical and digital recorded music services."
Fortes concludes that "neither efficiencies nor other justifications would effectively counteract the harm likely caused to consumers by a Universal/EMI combination and the removal of one major competitor from the market. Therefore, remedies short of an injunction likely would be ineffective. Harm to competition is likely to flow from diminished consumer choice (for both artists and end-user consumers) and diminished innovation. We urge the FTC to consider blocking the proposed transaction."
The entire white paper can be read (in PDF format) here.