The European Union's competition regulator on Friday launched an in-depth probe of Universal Music Group's planned acquisition of part of the iconic British music company EMI – home to The Beatles, Coldplay and Katy Perry.
Universal Music, which is owned by French media company Vivendi SA, announced in November that it would buy EMI's recorded-music division for $1.9bn. At the same time, a consortium led by Sony Music's Sony/ATV said it would pay $2.2bn for EMI's publishing arm.
The deal has been vehemently opposed by rivals such as Warner Music and small, independent music labels, which fear that Universal and Sony would dominate a market that is already under strain from illegal music downloads.
In its statement Friday, the Commission indicated that those concerns may be justified.