Following on from the successful takeover of Warner Music by Access Industries, It is rumoured that its owner Len Blavatnik may be interested in buying EMI as well and merging the two majors.

From a deal-making point of view with the EU, the competition issues are much less decisive than they would have been 5 years ago owing to the weakened position of Warners and EMI as Majors. So, the fear for the EU of making a “wrong” decision (a reassurance negotiating need) would be much less.

The other issue about the merger is whether it would make much difference to either of them in practice. The Majors may well continue to be in a position where they simply manage decline unless they are prepared to liberate and expand the digital market by granting many more licenses (see last week’s report on copyright reform from Lord Hargreaves which made just such a point and urged the creation of a digital rights exchange to speed up licensing).