Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Ticketmaster and Live Nation Merger Gets Go-ahead

The UK Competition Commission has executed a U-turn by approving the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation; just two months after claiming the deal would harm consumers.

The commission announced yesterday that it no longer believed that the public will suffer if the two companies combine forces. But, with opponents in America trying to derail the deal, it still faces an uncertain future.

Ticketmaster, the world’s largest seller of tickets, and Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, announced plans to merge back in February.

The commission originally opposed the merger, ruling that the deal would also prove to be anti-competitive as it would prevent German company, CTS Eventim, from operating in the British market.

Since that October announcement, however, the commission said the partners provided evidence showing CTS Eventim would not be harmed.

The Commission also concluded that it would not be in the interests of the merged company to shut out other agencies from selling tickets to its UK concerts.

In the US, the Department for Justice is probing the deal after critics claimed that the two companies would have unrestricted control over ticket prices if they are allowed to join forces. It could create a near-monopoly on large-scale concerts which would force consumers to pay more for tickets.

The Department for Justice has been in talks with Live Nation and Ticketmaster. A decision had been expected later this year, but looks more likely to come in 2010.

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