Indie Record Group IMPALA Could Upset Any EMI Deal
November 8, 2011 at 3:56 AM (PT)
CITIGROUP's attempt to sell EMI GROUP continues to drag on, with the most recent twist coming YESTERDAY (11/7), when reports surfaced that UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, which had earlier dropped out of the bidding for EMI, might be back in the mix.
But whether UMG or the other known suitor, WMG, end up with EMI, there's a new issue that has arisen in a report from THE FINANCIAL TIMES. The FT reports, "a sale of EMI would reshape both halves of the global music industry, representing the biggest shake-up in recorded music since SONY MUSIC merged with BERTELSMANN's BMG labels in 2004, and the largest upheaval in music publishing since VIVENDI's UNIVERSAL MUSIC acquired most of BERTELSMANN's BMG publishing unit in 2007. Both deals were done only after costly talks with competition authorities in BRUSSELS, after campaigning from IMPALA, the independent music trade association. Now, with offers on the table or in the wings from all of EMI's large rivals, IMPALA is warning that similar fights await any successful bidders."
IMPALA nearly upended the SONY-BMG merger, with regulatory challenges taking three years to resolve. In the end, UMG had to spin off the rights to many songs before it could close on BMG PUBLISHING.
IMPALA Exec. Chair HELEN SMITH told FT that "the group will complain to the EUROPEAN COMMISSION about any deal that consolidates the industry into three major recorded music groups and four music publishers. IMPALA 'could not support' market leaders UNIVERSAL or SONY getting bigger in recorded music or publishing, saying, 'I don’t believe any remedies would suffice.'"