Competition commission officially notified

Bertelsmann AG and Sony Corp. have officially notified the European Union's competition commission of their plans to combine their recorded music businesses.

A Bertelsmann spokesman confirms that the companies contacted Brussels on Jan. 9, seeking regulatory approval for the merger. Talks are continuing with U.S. anti-trust authorities. Both regulatory bodies are expected to take up to six weeks to complete the process.

Should the EU decide to conduct further investigations, clearance for the merger could be delayed by another four months, sources in Brussels say.

Bertelsmann and Sony Corp. last December announced a binding agreement to merge BMG and Sony Music in a 50-50 joint venture. That agreement formalized an earlier handshake between the two majors.