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Brazil competition regulator limits Universal and Sony’s EMI acquisitions

By | Published on Thursday 8 November 2012


While it was always the competition regulators in the US and Europe that Universal and Sony/ATV were most concerned about when they acquired the EMI record company and music publishing business respectively, the two deals have been investigated by competition authorities elsewhere too.

In the main, regulators in most territories have green lighted the two acquisitions without demanding any remedies, the big exception, of course, being the European Union, where officials demanded that Sony commit to sell a small number of EMI’s European publishing catalogues, and Universal over half of the EMI Music business in Europe.

But, according to Bloomberg, regulators in Brazil are now also making demands, basically banning Universal and Sony/ATV from actually merging their respective units in the country with the EMI label and publishing businesses based there. For the time being at least.

The specifics aren’t totally clear, though it doesn’t seem that either Sony or Universal are being forced to sell their respective EMI acquisitions in the country, but the ruling will likely limit the consolidation the two majors will be able to instigate. Certainly in the short term.

EMI Music Publishing will technically speaking remain a separate entity anyway, because other investors were involved in its purchase alongside Sony/ATV, itself a joint venture between Sony Corp and the Michael Jackson estate. Though in practical terms, in most other territories, the Sony/ATV and EMI businesses are being combined. Universal, meanwhile, will fully integrate its EMI acquisitions into its own business in all other markets.

It remains to be seen how Universal and Sony react to the ruling by the Brazil competition authority, known as Cade, and whether it will result in either looking to sell the EMI Brasil entities they have bought. Though for the time being, it’s thought both hope that the mergers will be fully green lighted down the line.

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