Senate Antitrust Subcommittee To Look At UMG/EMI Deal
May 14, 2012 at 3:52 AM (PT)
The Senate Antitrust Subcommittee will host a hearing to discuss the $1.9 billion purchase of EMI MUSIC by UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP. The Subcommittee, chaired by WISCONSIN Senator HERB KOHL, will likely hold the hearing this SUMMER.
The FTC as well as European regulators are also conducting antitrust reviews of the deal.
REUTERS reports, "The committee did not put out a witness list in announcing the hearing, but chief executives from the merging parties typically appear, along with supporters and critics of the deal.
The pending purchase of EMI MUSIC by UMG has its share of detractors, with many pointing to the 43% control of the U.S. music business the combined entity would have as being problematic. UMG currently has 33% of U.S. sales and EMI has 10%.
Critics on CAPITOL HILL complain a combined UNIVERSAL/EMI could have too much leverage in negotiating for radio airplay and store promotions, as well as in dictating terms of digital deals with the likes of iTUNES, SPOTIFY and future platforms.
UNIVERSAL told REUTERS in a statement that it welcomed the hearing as a way to "answer any questions that the subcommittee may have, address the facts and debunk myths."
"We remain confident of regulatory approval," a company spokesman said in an emailed statement.