9 August 2016
Music recording and publishing deal cleared unconditionally
On 1 August the European Commission cleared Sony’s acquisition of sole control of Sony/ATV, a music publishing joint venture between Sony and the Michael Jackson Estate. Despite a number of vocal complainants, the transaction was cleared unconditionally at phase I.Building on previous assessments in the music industry the Commission investigated whether the combination of the parties’ music recording and publishing repertoires might give rise to a lessening of competition via a hold-up strategy against online music platforms. The parties conducted an extensive analysis of control shares, a measure advocated by the Commission as a measure of market power in the music industry. They also provided detailed evidence on the economics and structure of their operations demonstrating that there could be neither incentive nor ability to engage in a hold-up strategy post-transaction.RBB Economics, working with Cleary Gottleib Steen & Hamilton, advised the parties throughout the notification.