隨著索尼發出收購EMI音樂出版公司的通知,歐盟競爭管理機構將採取強硬立場

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  • 隨著索尼發出收購EMI音樂出版公司的通知,歐盟競爭管理機構將採取強硬立場

      201810/2116:38

    ◎索尼已經通知歐盟委員會其欲收購EMI音樂出版公司一事,歐盟委員會將在10月26日進行初步評估。這是該委員會在2012年設定的先例,當時它裁定要求索尼撤資成為少數股東,這顯示索尼試圖完全接管EMI一案將遭到強烈反對和詳細的第二階段調查。

    ◎索尼若接管EMI將意味著它的曲目會幾乎多了一倍,從216萬首變成421萬首。此外,索尼將擁有比其他任何公司更多的擁有歌曲權利的龐大作家群,包括索尼未擁有100%權利的歌曲;沒有另外哪家公司有這麼多音樂的控制權,這將使索尼成為目前市場上最強大的主流公司。獨立音樂公司協會IMPALA的執行主席Helen Smith評論說「這項交易將擾亂競爭,並在已經過度集中的音樂市場中傷害消費者。鑑於歐盟委員會最近的先例,我們認為索尼的接管將面臨強烈的反對。」IMPALA上個月已就這筆交易完成會使索尼擁有的權力向歐盟委員會提出擔憂。

    ◎數位市場是可能受到影響的領域之一,因為索尼將大大增加其成為全球受歡迎的串流服務如Spotify、Deezer等以及像YouTube這樣的平台不可或缺的業務合作夥伴的力量。交易將根據競爭對手和客戶的意見進行審查,程序規定了嚴格的截止日期。從通知交易的那一刻起,委員會通常有25個工作日來決定是否批准(第一階段)或開始深入調查(第二階段)。

    ◎成立於2000年4月的IMPALA代表歐洲的獨立音樂公司,其使命之一是盡可能的保持音樂市場的開放性和競爭性,最近在確保歐洲議會對版權及平台進行的重要投票上頗有幫助。EMI /華納在2001年的首次合併就是因為IMPALA的干預而讓歐盟表示反對立場撤銷該案;當華納音樂於2013年收購Parlophone時,IMPALA為其會員確保了大量的撤資方案。除合併之外,IMPALA還參與了其他涉及音樂領域的反壟斷案件。

    詳細全文:

    Sony's intended take over of EMI Music Publishing has been notified to the European Commission, who now has until the 26th of October to make an initial assessment. Precedents set by the Commission in 2012, when it ruled that divestments were required for Sony to become a minority shareholder, suggest that Sony's attempt to take over EMI completely will be met with stiff opposition and a detailed Phase 2 investigation.

    Helen Smith IMPALA's Executive Chair, commented: "This transaction would disrupt competition and harm consumers in an already overly concentrated music market. Given recent precedents set by the European Commission, we believe Sony's take over will face stiff opposition."

    Sony's attempt to take over EMI would means its catalogue would nearly double, from 2.16m to 4.21m compositions. In addition, Sony would have a huge pool of writers with rights in more songs than any other company, including songs Sony doesn't own 100%. No company would control so much music, making Sony the most powerful major in the market today. IMPALA already submitted concerns to the European Commission last month about the power of Sony if this deal were cleared.

    The digital market is one of the likely areas of concern as Sony would significantly increase its power as an indispensable business partner globally for popular streaming services like Spotify, Deezer and also platforms like YouTube who face a new licensing regime in Europe following a key vote on copyright earlier this month in the European Parliament.

    Helen Smith added: "Sony's power will be a particular concern in European countries where the EU already concluded in 2012 that Sony would control too much repertoire. The European Commission will be concerned about competition and higher consumer prices, as well as Sony's recent moves to grab market share in the digital distribution market."

    "The only solution is to block the deal now," concluded Helen Smith. "This is necessary to avoid long term harm for consumers as well as other players in the music sector, from writers to streaming services, independent publishers, collecting societies and record companies. It also goes against key European objectives in terms of cultural diversity and SMEs and cuts across the EU's digital single market strategy."

    The transaction will be examined taking on board the views of competitors and customers, with the procedure setting out strict deadlines. From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II). Helen Smith commented: "Sony's expansion strategy will now be properly examined. The EC is likely to look not just at this latest deal, but the series of transactions together, just like a new merger."

    About IMPALA:

    IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent European independent music companies operating in both the recorded music and music publishing businesses. One of IMPALA's missions is to keep the music market as open and competitive as possible and it was instrumental in securing a key vote on copyright and platforms in the European Parliament recently. IMPALA has an impressive record in competition cases in the music sector. The first EMI/Warner merger was withdrawn in 2001 following objections from the EU after IMPALA intervened, in its first year of existence. It also won a landmark judgment in 2006 in the Sony/BMG case, and when Sony acquired 30% of EMI publishing in 2012, it was at the cost of significant divestments. The biggest set of remedies proportionately ever in a merger case was secured later that year, when UMG was forced to sell two thirds of EMI records and had to accept ten years of scrutiny over the terms of its digital deals. When WMG bought Parlophone in 2013, IMPALA secured a hefty divestments package for its members. On top of mergers, IMPALA has also been involved in other anti-trust cases involving the music sector, such as the abuse complaint against YouTube in 2014 and the call for regulating unfair business practices by large online players. See the organisation's other key achievements in IMPALA's milestones.

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