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UMG-EMI Merger Opposed

DANGER MERGER AHEAD: UMG’s acquisition of EMI Music (as well as Sony/ATV’s purchase of the company’s publishing division) will have to go through a wide range of regulatory agencies, but there is already opposition forming. U.K. indie trade association AIM has called on the British government to put a halt to the process, asking its 800 member companies to send a pre-written letter to their Member of Parliament expressing their opposition to the sales on the grounds that it will increase market distortion. The letter concludes by urging U.K. MPs "to raise this issue in Parliament" and "that the likely effects of these proposed sales on competition, retail, consumer choice and the growth of monopolistic power in the music industry are fully examined…" Sources, however, insist that, while AIM’s letter is provocative, the impact of such a campaign would be minimal since the regulatory approval process is with the European Commission, not the U.K. government. Meanwhile, Warner Music has hired the U. S. law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck to lobby against the merger on antitrust grounds, according to the Legal Times. Lest you'd forgotten, WMG unsuccessfully bid for EMI's recorded music division last fall. The firm recently worked on behalf of the Dish Network in contesting the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile. (1/19p)

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