16 March 2022

CMA clears Sony music merger

On 16 March the CMA cleared Sony Music Entertainment’s acquisition of artist & label (A&L) service provider AWAL without remedies, following an in-depth phase II inquiry.The CMA’s investigation focused on so-called “killer acquisition” theories of harm, examining the possibility that AWAL’s A&L business serving smaller artists may, absent the transaction, have expanded into competing with Sony for high profile artists. The CMA also considered the possibility that Sony’s The Orchard A&L business may, absent the transaction, have expanded to become an important rival to AWAL.The CMA ultimately found that the parties do not compete closely at present, and that a large number of rivals are active in the A&L segment and as well placed to compete in the future as AWAL and The Orchard.RBB, working alongside Cleary Gottlieb, advised Sony throughout the CMA’s investigation.

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