(UPDATED) On the same day that EU regulators approved Universal Music's $1.9 Billion purchase of EMI, U.S. officials also rubber stamped the deal. In it's statement closing the case, the Federal Trade Commission said that, "staff did not find sufficient evidence that the acquisition would substantially lessen competition in the market for the commercial distribution of recorded music...".
According to the FTC, their decision was "based largely on the different product portfolios of Universal and EMI". In their view, EMI is primarily a catalog company while Universal focuses on new artists. Under different circumstances, the CEOs of both EMI and UMG would argue vehemently that both companies have deep catalog as well as current hitmakers.
But the FTC read the data differently. "Universal is very strong in popular new releases, but EMI - the smallest of the Majors " has a portfolio much more heavily weighted toward older titles". Hinting that further consolidation might be viewed less favorably, the FTC wrote: "It is entirely possible that a transaction between other market participants or on different terms may yield a different conclusion."'
On Digital Services:
"music is more complementary than substitutable"
Read full FTC statement here.