Politicians Demand Scrutiny of Live Nation-Ticketmaster Merger

July 28th, 2009 by Daniel Kreps Leave a reply »

Lawmakers came out in force against the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger yesterday as politicians asked the Justice Department to review the potential merger with “great skepticism,” Billboard reports. New Jersey Rep. William Pascrell argued that Live Nation Ticketmaster “would enjoy a virtual stranglehold over the live entertainment industry,” in a letter to the Justice Department that was signed by 50 more bipartisan representatives.

Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, the Chairman of the Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Subcommittee — in a letter also addressed to Assistant Attorney General Christine A. Varney, who will next rule on the pending merger — recommended that the Justice Department approve the merger “only if it finds that it likely will not substantially reduce competition in the concert ticketing and promotion markets.” “Based on our investigation and testimony at our hearing, it is clear that this merger raises serious competitive concerns warranting thorough scrutiny,” Kohl wrote, adding the merger creates overlap and “vertical competition issues.”

The proposed merger would find Ticketmaster, the nation’s biggest ticketing service and owners of Front Line Management and secondary ticketing site TicketsNow, joining up with Live Nation, America’s biggest concert producer. Live Nation, which also owns dozens of amphitheatres and has inked 360 deals with artists like Madonna and Jay-Z, launched their own ticketing service late last year in a move that was expected to create competition in the ticketing market. Instead, the two companies quickly began talks to merge, announcing plans to create a joint company called Live Nation Ticketmaster in February 2009.

“Our concerns are heightened by the fact that Live Nation recently entered into the...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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