IMPALA To Fight Sony-BMG Parlophone Bid

14 January 2013 | 4:03 pm | Scott Fitzsimons

Indie label lobby group ask Euro Commission to step in

Vocal European independent music labels body IMPALA have asked the European Commission to step in on the proposed joint bid by Sony Music and Bertelsmann/KKR-owned BMG for the Parlophone label.

Part of Universal Music Group's divestment plan in return for regulatory approval of their $1.9 billion purchase of EMI's recorded music division, according to the Financial Times (via Billboard) IMPALA are concerned that the label – home to Coldplay and Gorillaz – would give Sony too much market share.

The lobby group's executive chair Helen Smith told the Times, “The Commission will want to make sure that none of the divestments benefit either Sony or Universal, either directly or indirectly. Music must not become a 'two-horse race'.”

A number of catalogues are playing musical chairs following the split and sale of EMI and in December last year Sony/ATV sold Virgin Music to BMG after buying EMI's publishing arm. Impala now argue that their connections with their bid for Parlophone jeopardises the regulator's requirement that the buyer has no relationship with the seller. The European Commission has not yet approved the Virgin sale, giving Impala leverage over the proposed Parlophone bid.

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Another indie that has come out in opposition of the bid is Glassnote, home to Mumford & Sons. The label's Daniel Glass told the Times, “The European Commission and the custodians they appointed have distorted the original intention [of the deal, which was that the divestment would advantage smaller labels]… You know who's going to get hurt? The artists.”

BMG said they believed that “all correct procedures” are being adhered to in the Virgin Music sale.