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EU gives the green light to Apple's $3 billion acquisition of Beats


Apple's $3 billion acquisition of Beats was just approved by EU antitrust regulators, Engadget reported earlier today.

A press release on the matter relayed that Beats coming under the Apple umbrella doesn't raise any anti-competitive concerns -- with respect to headphones -- because "the combined market share of Apple and Beats Electronics is low.

In addition, Apple and Beats Electronics are not close competitors because the headphones they sell differ markedly in functionality and design. Moreover, even after the transaction, a large number of global competitors such as Bose, Sennheiser and Sony would remain.

With respect to streaming music services, the Commission wrote that anti-competitive concerns are non-existent given the large number of competitors in the space.

The Commission also concluded that the transaction would not give Apple the ability and incentive to shut out competing streaming services from access to iOS, Apple's operating system for mobile devices. It based this conclusion, amongst others, on the fact that Apple was already active in the distribution of digital music before the merger. Hence, the merger would not change Apple's ability or incentive to block access to its iOS.

The deal still has to be given the green light by US regulators, but that will likely be a formality. Tim Cook noted during Apple's earnings conference call last week that Apple expects the deal to be officially finalized later this quarter.

And speaking of Beats, the company late last week was hit with a patent infringement suit from none other than Bose. The suit alleges that Beats' line of noise-cancelling headphones infringes upon a number of Bose patents.

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