EU regulators to decide on Sony's Michael Jackson deal by Aug. 1

Mon Jun 27, 2016 12:55pm EDT
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BRUSSELS - EU antitrust authorities will rule by Aug. 1 whether to allow Sony Corp 6758.T to buy out the Michael Jackson estate's stake in its music publishing joint venture, a move which rivals such as Warner Music Group say gives Sony too much power.

Sony requested approval on June 24, according to a filing on the European Commission website. The EU competition enforcer can clear the deal unconditionally or demand concessions.

It can also open a five-month long investigation if it has serious concerns the deal may harm consumers and rivals.

Sony signed a deal in March to acquire the stake that the deceased pop star held in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the world's largest music publisher, which owns copyrights to most of the Beatles' songs and songs by the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Pharrell Williams and Kanye West.

Warner Music Group has conveyed its concerns to the Commission, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters, while lobbying group Impala which represents independent labels and national trade associations, has also done the same.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Louise Heavens)

People watch a projection of late U.S. singer Michael Jackson during "Blink", an 30-metre-high audio-visual video installation that captures people in slow motion, by British artist Simon Bowsell on the facade of Hong Kong Cultural Centre May 25, 2010.  REUTERS/Bobby Yip