Friday 30 March 2012, 12:00 | By

New Zealand competition regulators launch investigation into Universal’s EMI purchase

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While it maybe the competition regulator investigations in the US and Europe that really matter, the Commerce Commission in New Zealand earlier today invited interested parties to make submissions to its inquiry into Universal Music’s proposed takeover of the EMI record companies.

The New Zealand branch of Universal Music submitted its EMI takeover application to the Commerce Commission earlier this month, and that body today published an initial document, most of which outlines routine information about the way in which competition investigations into proposed mergers and acquisitions work in the country.

Areas on which the Commission says it will be focusing include Universal’s claims that the independent sector in New Zealand currently enjoys a strong competitive position, the extent to which artists can now circumvent the label system, and the extent to which piracy limits the big rights owners’ power in setting prices, especially in the digital domain.

The Commission says it should make its final decision on 13 May. As previously reported, the European Commission announced late last week that it will need until August to review Universal’s EMI bid. In Europe the acquisition is being strongly opposed by pan-European indie label trade body IMPALA, while Warner Music is thought to be lobbying against the deal in both the US and Europe.

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