Mergers: Commission to assess the acquisition of Shazam by Apple

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The Shazam deal, reportedly worth $400 million, wasn't actually big enough for the European Union to automatically investigate the transaction.

Apple announced it would buy Shazam in December in a deal worth less than the "turnover threshold" for the EC, but above the merger notification threshold for Austria, which leads the quorum of countries anxious by the deal.

The European Commission has said Apple's takeover of Shazam could have a significant impact on competition in Europe.

In this case, Apple registered the merger in Austria, which asked the commission to get involved.

The EU on Tuesday said it would probe tech giant Apple Inc's plan to buy leading song recognition app Shazam Entertainment Ltd because of fears the deal might "adversely affect competition".

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The EC said EU Member State Austria submitted the initial request, with Iceland, Italy, France, Norway, Spain and Sweden joining subsequently.

The Shazam app uses a smartphone or computer microphone to identify nearly any song playing nearby, then guides users to places they can purchase or stream the song such as Apple Music or Google's YouTube. The EU may be anxious that once Shazam is under Apple's control, the iPhone maker could choose to make Apple Music the only option for listening to tracks.

Apple confirmed plans to buy Shazam late past year in a deal estimated to be worth around $400m (£286m). Whether or not this will affect the deal remains to be seen, but then again regulators investigating acquisitions that could result in a monopoly or anti-competitive behavior isn't new and is sometimes to be expected.

We've reached out to Apple for comment and will update this post with any response. "The Commission has also concluded that it is the best placed authority to deal with the potential cross-border effects of the transaction".

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