Apple Wins EU Antitrust Approval to Take Over Shazam Service

(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. won European Union antitrust approval to acquire music-identification service Shazam after regulators concluded that the deal wouldn’t hurt competition in the digital music streaming market.

The European Commission’s decision on Thursday follows an in-depth probe amid concerns that the iPhone maker could use Shazam’s data to lure customers to its own music service.

“Data is key in the digital economy” and “we must therefore carefully review transactions which lead to the acquisition of important sets of data, including potentially commercially sensitive ones, to ensure they do not restrict competition,” EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement on Thursday.

Europe’s antitrust enforcers are increasingly concerned about how technology companies use data. Facebook Inc. was fined last year for failing to disclose to merger watchdogs that it could combine its own data with that of messaging app WhatsApp.

Vestager has talked about data as a currency for free services and how smaller companies may struggle to compete with data-rich rivals.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.