Sony/ATV Music’s rivals have aired concerns with European regulators about the publishing giant’s move to acquire the Michael Jackson estate’s portion of the joint venture. EU antitrust officials have a provisional deadline of Aug. 1 to decide whether to let Sony buy out Jackson’s 50 percent stake in the company, which owns the publishing rights of most Beatles songs, as well as music by Taylor Swift, Whitney Houston and others.
Reuters is reporting that both Warner Music Group and indie label trade group IMPALA have logged concerns with the commission, arguing that the buyout would make Sony/ATV too powerful in the publishing world. The EU’s top competition enforcer, Margrethe Vestager, can either approve the deal or call for concessions.
Sony agreed in March to pay the Jackson estate $750 million for its half of the company, started 21 years ago as a joint venture between Sony and the late King of Pop. As previously reported, the Jackson estate will retain the 10 percent interest it holds in EMI Music Publishing, as well as Mijac Music, the publishing company that owns the songs written by Jackson as well as songs written by other writers, plus Jackson's master recordings.
If approved, the proceeds of the sale will go towards paying down Jackson’s debts, with the bulk of the remainder going into a trust for his three children.