On March 20, 2007, the European Commission opened an in-depth investigation into the acquisition by SFR France of Télé2 France’s fixed telephone and Internet access services. SFR is active primarily in the mobile telephony sector and is jointly controlled by Vivendi and Vodafone, two major players in the media and telecom sector. Télé 2 France, a subsidiary of Télé 2 Europe, is active in France in the fixed and mobile telephony, Internet access and pay-TV distribution by ADSL sectors. In light of the strong position held by Vivendi through its subsidiary group Canal+ in the pay-TV sector in France, the Commission is concerned that the transaction would harm competition in the French pay-TV market.
On March 1, 2007, the European Commission opened a second-phase investigation into the joint venture which combined the recorded music divisions of Sony and Bertelsmann AG. The Commission initially authorized the creation of the joint venture Sony-BMG in 2004, finding that the merger did not create or reinforce collective market power among the “music majors” (Universal, Sony-BMG, Warner and EMI). In 2006, however, the Court of First Instance considered the evidence relied on by the Commission insufficient to explain the decision and annulled it. The Commission is therefore reassessing the transaction in light of current market conditions, including the growing online music market.