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Report: EU set to clear Sony, BMG merger

Commission likely to unconditionally back deal that would create the world's second-largest music company, according to new report.

The European Commission looks set to give unconditional backing to a joint venture between Japan's Sony and German media group Bertelsmann, the Financial Times reported on Monday. The Commission has until October 10 to present its final ruling on the merger, but several people familiar with the case said the regulator was expected to clear it without conditions, the FT said.

The Commission could still spring a last-minute surprise, but is thought to have finalized a draft brief in which no remedies would be imposed. The deal was approved by the Commission in 2004 and the two companies went ahead to create the world's No. 2 music company. But in July 2006, the Court of First Instance, Europe's second-highest court, annulled the Commission's approval of the venture, saying the EU executive failed to give good reasons for its decision. The Commission reopened its probe into the deal earlier this year.