BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union approved Apple’s planned acquisition of British music discovery app Shazam on Thursday, saying an EU antitrust investigation showed it would not harm competition in the bloc.
Customers walk past an Apple logo inside of an Apple store at Grand Central Station in New York, U.S., August 1, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
The deal, announced in December last year, would help the iPhone maker better compete with Spotify, the industry leader in music streaming services. Shazam identifies songs when a smartphone is pointed at an audio source.
“After thoroughly analyzing Shazam’s user and music data, we found that their acquisition by Apple would not reduce competition in the digital music streaming market,” EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
“Data is key in the digital economy. We must therefore carefully review transactions which lead to the acquisition of important sets of data, including potentially commercially sensitive ones,” she added.
The European Commission opened a full-scale investigation into the deal in April, emblematic of its recent worries that companies may buy a data-rich rival to mine it for information or drive others out of the market.
Reuters last month reported sources saying that Apple was set to win unconditional EU antitrust approval for the deal following the probe requested by seven European countries including France, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Alastair Macdonald