The Commission has launched an in-depth investigation into the acquisition by Ryanair, a low-cost carrier, of Aer Lingus, an Ireland-based carrier. The merger, which would combine the two main airlines operating out of Ireland, raised the Commission’s concerns because it would produce overlaps on a large number of European routes, reducing the options for consumers and possibly giving rise to higher fares. In order to address these concerns, Ryanair offered a package of commitments which currently are being reviewed by the Commission.
The Commission has launched an investigation into the acquisition of the music publishing firm Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) by rival Universal (owned by Vivendi). Universal is the industry leader in music recording and, as a result of the merger, would become the leading music publisher in the EEA. After an initial review, the Commission decided to investigate whether the further concentration in the music publishing market caused by the acquisition would have a negative impact on fees for publishing rights.
The Commission has opened a second-phase investigation into the acquisition by the German firm VB Autobatterie GmbH of the automotive starter battery business of Italy’s FIAMM Group. Both companies are active in the production and sale of automotive starter batteries, which they supply to manufacturers of passenger cars, trucks and commercial vehicles. Notably, the merger threatens to reduce competition in an already highly concentrated market by reducing the number of suppliers from three to two.