European independent labels' body Impala will make a final decision in early October as to whether it will initiate a court challenge to the Sony BMG merger, Billboard has learned.
LONDON -- European independent labels' body Impala will make a final decision in early October as to whether it will initiate a court challenge to the Sony BMG merger, Billboard has learned.
At a board meeting Sept. 30 in Berlin, Impala's members decided to consult with lawyers before making a decision, but there was "a high consensus among members that the decision should be challenged," according to a source present at the meeting.
The source adds that the perception among Impala's board is that the decision by the European Commission to authorize the merger without conditions last July "was flawed and therefore is definitely challengeable."
Impala deputy general secretary Helen Smith simply stated Sept. 30 that "the issue was discussed by the board. The board has decided in favor of a last round of consultation with lawyers and at a national level. We will confirm our position in the next 10 days."
The Sony BMG merger was cleared by the EC's competition department July 19. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission approved the deal without concessions July 28.
Competition experts in Brussels anticipate that any legal challenge to EC's decision will be a long and expensive process. Apparently, this is a risk Impala's board is ready to take. "The first question the board discussed was, 'Should we sue?' and not, 'Can we afford to sue?' so cost is not an issue," says the source.