Go-ahead for entertainment giants' tie-up
Dec 22 2009 By Graeme Evans
THE mega-merger of ticketing giant Ticketmaster with the world’s largest concert promoter, Live Nation, was given the all-clear by UK regulators today.
The decision reverses the Competition Commission’s provisional findings that the tie-up could lead to higher prices and lower quality of service. It said its change of heart followed "significant new evidence and arguments".
Ticketmaster and Live Nation - whose acts include Madonna, Coldplay and U2 - announced the planned merger in February, sparking competition reviews in a number of countries, including the UK and the United States.
Chris Edmonds, managing director of Ticketmaster UK, described today’s clearance as an important milestone and said it brought the companies a step closer to "creating a new kind of live entertainment business".
The Competition Commission’s inquiry focused on concerns that a deal would stop the world’s second largest ticketing firm, CTS Eventim, from gaining a foothold in the UK market.
Live Nation signed an agreement with Eventim for ticketing of its live music shows and venues in the UK shortly before the merger with Ticketmaster was announced.
Commission deputy chairman Christopher Clarke said: "We concluded that the extent of Eventim’s success in the UK will be determined principally by its own efforts and abilities, and will not be affected significantly by the merger."