EU: No EMI for Time Warner

Citing the potential danger of "collective dominance" of the music business, European Commission members have nixed the proposed merger of American media conglomerate Time Warner and British music-industry powerhouse EMI. The $20 billion joint venture may still have some small chance at a future, provided the companies make further concessions to allay fears of monopolistic control of music prices in Europe.

Such concessions do not appear likely, however, in view of compromises Time Warner has already made to clear the way for its $127 billion merger with America Online, the world's largest Internet service provider. Commissioners were reportedly concerned not only about the pricing of packaged music, but also about possible dominance of the emerging market for downloadable music.

The European Commission has green-lighted the AOL-TW linkup, a topic of considerable controversy in both Europe and the US. To be adopted as official European Union policy, the decisions—announced Wednesday, September 27—will have to pass a vote at a full meeting of the Commission on October 11.