Impala is calling on European regulators to scrutinize Universal Music Group's "creeping dominance" in the light of the music giant's buying spree.

The European independent music companies' trade group is also asking Brussels regulators to further examine the divestment of publishing assets ordered as part of UMG's recent acquisition of BMG Music Publishing.

In a statement issued today, Impala said it has asked Brussels to consider restricting UMG from collecting more independent music companies. The Brussels-based association cites UMG's acquisition of the likes of Vale Music in Spain, ARS in Belgium, Magic in Poland, Lionheart in Sweden, and British firms Sanctuary and V2 as evidence of a "clear tactic to gain market power" with "further acquisitions" expected in key territories.

Impala says it has asked EC competition commissioner Neelie Kroes to "completely rethink her approach to music mergers and impose innovative remedies," pointing out that the regulator had ignored the duopoly between Universal and Sony BMG.

"Commissioner Kroes does not seem to be a friend of creative SMEs," comments Patrick Zelnik, president of Impala and French indie label Naïve, in the statement. "If Universal continues to buy up the independent sector at the rate of one a week, how many will be left when Commissioner Kroes retires? Music is more concentrated than energy. If she supports liberalisation she should understand that SME's need to breathe."

Furthermore, Impala has called for further scrutiny of the post UMG/BMG asset sale. It says it is concerned that independent cash buyers might have been excluded from bidding for assets such as Rondor U.K., Zomba U.S. and U.K, plus 19 Music, 19 Songs and BBC Music, and noted that the Commission "may have overvalued the significance of the assets to be sold."

UMG rebuked Impala's claims. "The divestment process is being carried out entirely in line with the European Commission clearance decision of May 22 and has been open to all interested parties on a non-discriminatory basis," UMG said in a statement.

"It's curious as to why they are coming out with this now," admits a European Commission spokesman. "We looked at the potential competition problems arising from the merger, and we did have some concerns, but we did feel those concerns have been addressed by the divestments which they agreed to."

A source close to that deal say the majority of the parties who have expressed interest in the publishing assets are independents, but no Impala members have bid. "This is an extremely transparent process," the source tells "The Commission appointed a monitoring trustee to ensure that the process is transparent and impartial. And they have to approve the buyer."

Impala was in the news again last week when it called for a formal inquiry by European authorities into why the Sony BMG merger had been cleared a second time without remedies.