Apple’s Takeover of Shazam Is Cleared by European Regulators

Apple’s Takeover of Shazam Is Cleared by European Regulators

LONDON — European authorities on Thursday cleared Apple’s acquisition of the popular song-recognition app Shazam after months of study into whether the deal would give the iPhone maker an unfair advantage over rival streaming music services like Spotify.

Apple said in December that it had agreed to buy Shazam, prompting European regulators to scrutinize the proposed takeover as part of a broader effort to examine the implications over the transfer of data when evaluating mergers.

In the case of Apple’s deal for Shazam, regulators questioned whether the app held important information on Apple competitors. The focus on data transfer is a departure from typical antitrust enforcement, which tends to zero in on how a deal may affect customers in terms of a product’s cost.

“Data is key in the digital economy,” Margrethe Vestager, the top antitrust enforcer at the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, said in a statement. “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.”

The Apple deal, Ms. Vestager said, would not impede competition.

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