The European Commission has interrupted its anti-trust investigations into the proposed merger of the music units of Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann. The Commission, the executive body of the European Unio

The European Commission has interrupted its anti-trust investigations into the proposed merger of the music units of Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann. The Commission, the executive body of the European Union, intends to request more detailed information about the planned merger and the consequences for the recorded-music market.

The Commission has been conducting "Phase II" of its in-depth probe into the planned merger. The Commission had previously said it would come to a decision by June 22. It did not give a deadline for the end of the new investigations.

Sources tell Billboard.biz that the Commission thinks combining Sony and BMG could harm the consumer. If the merger closes, the remaining four major music companies -- Universal, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI -- would hold approximately 80% of the recording market, both on a European level and in most national markets in the European Economic Area. Sony BMG and Universal together would account for approximately half of the recorded music market.

The companies announced their planned merger in November. Bertelsmann chairman/CEO Gunter Thielen last week expressed hopes that the decision would be made in September at the latest.

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