Australia's competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), says it "will not interfere" in the merger of BMG Australia and Sony Music Entertainment (Australia).

Australia's competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), says it "will not interfere" in the merger of BMG Australia and Sony Music Entertainment (Australia).

The news comes as Sony Music and BMG confirm the completion of their long-anticipated merger. The combined labels' market share Down Under would be close to 30%, more than current market-leader Universal Music Australia with 24%, according to figures supplied by the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA). It's roster of Australian and New Zealand chart acts include Delta Goodrem, John Farnham, Pete Murray, Bic Runga, Guy Sebastian, Ben Lummis, Human Nature and Shannon Noll.

The ACCC issued its decision after meeting with various sectors of the local industry in recent months. The Assn. of Independent Record Labels (AIR) and Music Managers Forum (MMF) are among the local trade bodies understood to have opposed the deal. "While increased concentration in any industry raises issues of a greater potential for coordinated conduct between the remaining players, the ACCC formed the view that the evidence before it suggested that this was unlikely in the traditional and online music markets," comments ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel.

The ACCC also dismissed concerns on the merger's potential impact on the digital distribution of music. Samuel says he "considered it unlikely that the proposed merger would lead to the foreclosure given the emerging and dynamic nature of this aspect of the industry."

Following completion of the merger, the heads of Sony and BMG in Australia will oversee their respective operations in New Zealand.

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