For the second time, the European Commission has cleared the merger of record companies Sony and BMG.
The regulatory body announced its approval Wednesday and declared that, as before, no conditions are necessary to govern the deal.
The Brussels-based competition commission gave the greenlight to the merger three years ago, but last year the European Court of First Instance annulled that decision and ordered the commission to re-examine the merger.
The deal was successfully called into question by independent music company trade body Impala, but in its final approval announcement, the commission ruled that the combined Sony BMG does not have a dominant position in the music market and, therefore, no remedies are needed.
However, Impala has vowed to challenge what it refers to as the “bizarre” and “indefensible” decision. It may even seek damages from the European Commission.
“The EC has ignored the simple fact that four companies control 95% of the music most citizens hear on the radio throughout the world,” said Impala president Patrick Zelnik in a statement. “What kind of a message does this send to European citizens? That the EU’s prioritization of cultural diversity, creative SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and pluralism is purely rhetoric?”
For its part, the commission said its investigation of the Sony BMG merger was “one of the most thorough analyses of complex information ever undertaken by the commission in a merger procedure.”
EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes stated: “It clearly shows that the merger would not raise (antitrust) concerns.”