No Two-Horse Race

While the future of EMI will eventually be decided by the regulatory authorities on both sides of the Atlantic, those against it being split up and hived off to Universal and Sony continue to be vocal about their opposition to the deals.

Former Warner Music Group chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. and the main independent music companies association’s recent attacks focus on what they plainly see as Universal’s arrogance over its purchase of EMI’s recorded music business.

Bronfman, who spent a great deal of his time at Warner trying to merge the company with the British major, says it’s “hubris” for Universal to think it’s going to be easy to buy EMI or to even to think it can buy EMI at all.

The UK independent music companies’ letter to British MPs quoted Beggars Group chairman Martin Mills describing Universal’s acquisition of EMI’s recorded music business as “breath-taking arrogance.”

IMPALA, the European indies’ association, insists the music sector won’t become “a two-horse race” and appears confident the European Commission will stop Universal from buying EMI’s record business. But the only certain thing is the industry is about to witness another long legal battle over a proposed takeover.

Whatever the EC and the U.S. antitrust authority decide, the battle could be further drawn out by the likelihood that the losers will appeal the decision.

That appears to be the view of ratings agency Moody’s, which is considering downgrading the credit score of Vivendi – Universal’s Paris-based parent company – because of the regulatory risks it faces.