Australian regulators have given approval to Universal Music's deal to acquire EMI Music, as the ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) will allow the sale to go through with no concessions required.
UMG said in a statement, "Our investment in EMI will create more opportunities for new and established artists, expand music output and consumer choice, and support new digital services. We welcome the Commission's decision and are working closely with regulators in Europe and in the U.S. to obtain further clearances."
However, the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR) has released its own statement, ripping the ACCC's decision to approve the sale. In its statement, "AIR expresses its extreme disappointment" with the ACCC, adding that "Given that Universal and EMI’s combined market share in Australia is likely to exceed 50% of recorded music sales, AIR disputes every one of the ACCC’s arguments that the combined entities will not reduce competition in this territory. The merger is bad for the health of the Australian independent music sector and will result in decreased musical diversity and consumer choice. AIR believes that the merger will see Universal’s market power exert undue influence on fledgling digital business models as well as control of access to market through media, digital retail and physical retail. It will also strengthen its control over a large proportion of worldwide digital distribution. AIR is deeply concerned that Universal’s digital business practices will curtail innovation while resulting in increased equity in selected existing digital service platforms."
As reported last week, the European Commission is expected to formally vote on UMG-EMI either tomorrow (9/20) or Friday (9/21). The EU then has until next Thursday, September 27 to announce its decision and release a written report. Here in the States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been reviewing the deal and is planning on announcing its own decision some time during the week of September 24.