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EC launches wider investigation into Apple’s Shazam acquisition

By | Published on Tuesday 24 April 2018

Shazam

The European Commission has launched a wider investigation into Apple’s purchase of Shazam over fears that it will affect competition within the European Economic Area. Last month, the EC set a deadline of 23 Apr for a decision on whether or not the green light the sale.

The $400 million Shazam deal wasn’t actually big enough for the EU to automatically investigate the transaction. However, the deal did require approval from regulators in Austria under merger rules there, and it decided to bounce the investigation up to the EC. That move was then backed by six other EU countries: France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

The conclusion of that investigation was that a more in-depth investigation is required. A key concern is thought to be the amount of traffic currently directed to Spotify through Shazam. If Apple were to close off click-throughs to other streaming services, or shut down Shazam entirely, that would have a significantly negative effect for Apple Music’s main rival.

In a statement, the EC commissioner in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, said: “The way people listen to music has changed significantly in recent years, with more and more Europeans using music streaming services. Our investigation aims to ensure that music fans will continue to enjoy attractive music streaming offers and won’t face less choice as a result of this proposed merger”.

A deadline for the new investigation has been set for 4 Sep.



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