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Sony’s Rivals Say Its Music Deal With Michael Jackson’s Estate Would be a Monopoly

Michael Jackson HIStory World TourMichael Jackson HIStory World Tour
Michael Jackson performing in 1996Photograph by Phil Walter — Getty Images

Sony’s (SNE) recent attempt to buy out deceased pop icon Michael Jackson’s stake in its publishing division could effectively monopolize music publishing for the industry leader, its competitors claim.

The European Commission, which regulates EU antitrust matters, must decide by Aug. 1 if Sony’s latest move, filed on June 24, would give the company too much power.

Sony inked a deal in March to purchase the Sony/ATV Music Publishing copyrights owned to the Jackson estate, including songs by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as well as tracks by Kanye West, Taylor Swift, and Pharrell Williams.


Reuters reports that rival publisher Warner Music Group and Impala, an independent label lobbying group, have complained to the European Commission about the power play.

If the commission believes there’s merit to their arguments, a five month investigation could be the result.