EU regulators worried Apple-Shazam deal may hurt competition

The European Commission announced on Tuesday that it is going to “assess the acquisition of Shazam by Apple.” The regulatory group says that multiple countries, including Austria, France and Spain, have requested that it review the recently announced deal for possible violation of EU antitrust laws.

Austria submitted a referral request to the Commission pursuant to Article 22(1) of the EU Merger Regulation. This provision allows Member States to request that the Commission examine a merger that does not have an EU dimension but affects trade within the Single Market and threatens to significantly affect competition within the territory of the Member States making the request. Subsequently Iceland, Italy, France, Norway, Spain and Sweden joined the request.

Put simply, these countries are worried that Apple owning Shazam could end up threatening local competition (Spotify gets referrals from the Shazam app) and they want the Commission to look into it. This could lead to an approval of the deal, a conditional approval, or a full investigation from the group.

For those that missed it, Apple announced in December that it had acquired the song identification company Shazam in a deal rumored to be worth around $400 million. The app is still live in the App Store, but it’s believed it could be pulled when/if Apple decides to fully integrate it into Apple Music.

Source: European Commission