European Union to investigate Apple's Shazam purchase for antitrust issues

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Apple will now have to formally ask the Commission to approve the deal.

The Shazam app, which lets users identify a recording by pointing a smart phone at the song, has been downloaded more than a billion times since its commercial rollout in August 2002.

The outcome of the European Commission's investigation will be made public in the next few months, once the investigation has been completed. According to people familiar with the transaction the reported $400 million price would make it one of Apple's largest acquisitions, Bloomberg reported. However, the deal required approval from regulators in Austria under merger rules there, and it has chose to bounce the investigation up to the EC.

The EC says it will review Apple's proposed purchase of Shazam, the popular music recognition app. Five other European Union states and Norway joined Austria's request, leading to Tuesday's announcement by the commission. The European Commission will be able to undergo a 35-day initial investigation into the deal, and then have a further 105 working days if they find any illegal breaches.

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The request for the investigation was made by Austria, but they were later joined by other European Union countries such as France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden. "The Commission has also concluded that it is the best placed authority to deal with the potential cross-border effects of the transaction".

It was notified by Apple for regulatory clearance in Austria, where the transaction meets the national merger notification threshold. If that occurred, Apple could offer remedies to the EC to address said concerns.

Shazam only recently announced it had become profitable, thanks to advertising and steering traffic to other sites, such as Spotify and Apple Music. The tech giant may have to put those plans on hold for a bit.

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