Sony Music and BMG's top executives are due to meet today with Mario Monti, the European Commissioner in charge of competition issues, Billboard.biz has learned. The meeting is expected to begin at th
Sony Music and BMG's top executives are due to meet today with Mario Monti, the European Commissioner in charge of competition issues, Billboard.biz has learned.
The meeting is expected to begin at the end of the day and will involve Sony Music Entertainment chairman/CEO Andrew Lack and his counterpart at BMG Rolf Schmidt-Holtz. Talks will continue tomorrow.
Lack and Schmidt-Holtz, who have been in Brussels for the entire week, are seeking Monti's approval for the merger of Sony Music and BMG's recorded music divisions.
Sources in Brussels say that Monti could make a decision as soon as tomorrow, but he will then consult with various services within his administration.
After a two-day closed-doors oral hearing held June 14-15, sources in Brussels familiar with the EU's procedures say that there are no conclusive indications at this stage on the Commission's possible decisions. Assaults on the majors and the widespread opposition to the merger during the hearing may not have been enough for the Commission to block the deal, participants at the hearing say.
EU sources admit the hearing failed to provide conclusive proof of tacit collusion among the majors. "We did not see any clear evidence, and it leaves us with a blurred image. We'll just have to see what they [Sony and BMG] have to offer," one official says.
Other officials tell Billboard.biz that the issue is still finely balanced. The final decision could depend on last minute negotiations -- including guarantees and concessions -- between Monti and Sony and BMG executives.
All the major issues, including the final negotiations between the Commission and Sony and BMG, must be resolved a month before the final deadline, in other words, June 22.
Neither Sony Music nor BMG would comment.