Ticketmaster completes live nation merger
Jan 26 2010 By Graeme Evans
THE merger of Ticketmaster and the world’s largest concert promoter, Live Nation, has been completed after clearance from US regulators.
The approval of the US Justice Department comes a month after the UK’s Competition Commission overturned its earlier findings that the tie-up could lead to higher prices and lower quality of service.
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.
Regulators in the US approved the merger yesterday but with conditions that Ticketmaster license its ticketing software to a competitor and sell a subsidiary that handles tens of millions of tickets a year.
The ruling is designed to strengthen the companies that will compete for ticketing contracts and concert promotion work with Live Nation Entertainment - the new name for the combined business.
The companies said music fans will benefit through lower ticket prices because the merged company can earn money in ways that separate companies could not.
The Competition Commission’s inquiry in the UK 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.
The Commission said it found that the merger would make little difference to the prospects of Eventim’s success in the UK.
It added that the move had little scope to affect Eventim as it would continue to receive a fee for every Live Nation ticket sold and Live Nation would be obliged to allocate a minimum number of tickets to Eventim.