Universal And BMG Publishing Merger OK'd In Australia
December 22, 2006 at 5:28 AM (PT)
UNIVERSAL MUSIC, whose proposed 1.63 billion euro ($2 billion) buy of BERTELSMANN's BMG MUSIC PUBLISHING GROUP is under review by the EUROPEAN COMMISSION, said TODAY that AUSTRALIA had cleared the merger.
That clearance, combined with earlier approval by the US, means only BRUSSELS is left to rule on whether the deal passes competition muster.
The AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION said it was "unlikely the proposed acquisition would substantially lessen competition" in AUSTRALIA for the purchase of rights from authors by music publishers.
Australian authorities were looking into the deal because both companies do business there. But the situation in BRUSSELS, where the decision will be made by APRIL 27, is far more ticklish because of the shadow of another decision.
The COMMISSION approved SONY's and BERTELSMANN's joint music venture, SONY BMG, only to see that decision overturned by a EUROPEAN UNION court. The companies have appealed.