Trade body says appeal 'inadmissible.'
European independents lobby organization Impala defiantly claimed Friday (Oct. 6) that Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann's appeal against the court annulment of their Sony BMG music merger would not be accepted.
"We would be very surprised if the court were to allow this appeal at all," Impala said in a statement.
Sony and Bertelsmann's appeal was yesterday lodged at the EU's top court, the Court of Justice, the only body capable of overturning the July ruling.
In July, the European Court of First Instance, the EU's second highest court, annulled the European Commission decision in 2004 to allow Sony Music and BMG to merge, forcing the two music majors to re-submit their merger plans for anti-trust scrutiny by the Commission again.
Impala reckons that the court effectively also ruled out any appeal. "As far as we are concerned it is inadmissible," the group said of the appeal. The Brussels-based trade group added, "An appeal is only possible on grounds of law. The judgment was based entirely on grounds of fact -- material errors of assessment and reasoning by the Commission. We would expect it to be struck out on grounds of inadmissibility."
Impala said the fact that the Commission itself had not appealed spoke volumes. There were also questions regarding whether the appeal met the deadline, it said.
The European Court of First Instance had upheld an Impala challenge that said the Commission failed to conduct a thorough investigation of the antitrust implications before clearing the merger. The judges agreed that the Commission decision had been "riddled with errors" and it had failed to show that at the time the then-five music majors were not colluding over market prices or that they would not afterwards.