A formal complaint against the Universal Music-EMI deal has been filed by European Union regulators. Businessweek reports that an antitrust complaint from the EU plans to send "a so-called statement of objections listing possible problems with the deal." Regulators have a September 6 deadline looming to rule on the acquisition of EMI's recorded music division by UMG.
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said this week in a speech in Switzerland that he is preparing to take his review of the deal to its next stage. According to Businessweek, Almunia said his agency must ensure that a combined UMG-EMI "would not be in a position to shape the future landscape in the digital music market to the detriment of users and artists."
Universal Music said in a statement, "We will continue to work closely with the commission and look forward to securing regulatory clearance. A statement of objections is part of the European Commission’s due process when considering mergers and is expected."
Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Times reports that UMG owner Vivendi is considering splitting off its entertainment properties from its telecommunications business. Universal Music, video game company Activision Blizzard Inc. and cable TV company Canal+Group would be broken off and grouped together. If Vivendi chooses the option, the two companies would be run separately, according to the Times' source. Vivendi's French mobile unit SFR has been facing revenue declines over the past year. No final decisions have been made, however, and if SFR turns its performance around the plan could be scrapped.