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Friday, January 26, 2001
EU to probe music companies over CD prices

"...The European Commission is to launch an investigation into the world's biggest music companies over alleged price-fixing for compact discs, EU officials said on Friday.

"The report is correct", one EU official told Reuters, referring to a story in Friday's Financial Times, which said the EU executive was believed to have uncovered information on collusion over prices in its probe into the planned joint venture between EMI and Time Warner. Officials said the Commission would issue a statement later. The Financial Times said other companies expected to be covered by the probe would be Sony Corp , Bertelsmann Music Group and Universal Music, now part of Vivendi .

The Commission, the European Union's anti-trust watchdog, has the power to fine companies found guilty of operating cartels up to 10 percent of their turnover, although it has never levied such a fine. A Bertelsmann spokesman said the company had not heard anything from the EU executive yet. "We at Bertelsmann have not heard anything from the Commission" Martin Harnischfeger said..."

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