On Friday, regulators on both sides of the Atlantic approved the mergers of the Universal Music Group and EMI Recorded Music, the world’s first and fourth largest such companies, respectively. Universal spent $1.98 billion to buy EMI. The Federal Trade Commission, in a unanimous vote, said it was closing the investigation into the deal “without taking any action,” which effectively approves it. Had the deal been in place for 2011, the combined companies would have had six of the top 10 pop songs of that year.
In a statement, the European Commission said it was particularly concerned that the deal would “significantly worsen the licensing terms it offers to digital platforms that sell music to consumers.”
“Competition in the music business is crucial to preserve choice, cultural diversity, and innovation,” said Joaquín Almunia, Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy, in the same statement.