Ticketmaster/Live Nation Merger To Get US Approval

lnThe US Department of Justice plans to approve the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation. Regulators are demanding that the companies make a few concessions to ensure fair competition, including licensing its Ticketmaster Host ticketing software to concert promoter and venue manager Anschutz Entertainment Group, and divesting its self-ticketing subsidiary Paciolan to promoter and manager Comcast-Spectacor.

For the next decade, the new Live Nation Entertainment will be barred from taking retaliatory action against venues that choose to use another ticketing company.

The merger will create a “big three” in the touring world, made up of the new Live Nation Entertainment, AEG and Comcast-Spectacor.

Live Nation’s Michael Rapino will act as Pres./CEO, Irving Azoff will be Executive Chairman, and Barry Diller will serve as chairman. Former Live Nation shareholders will have a 49.99 percent in the new company, with former Ticketmaster shareholders holding a 50.01 percent stake.

The UK Competition Commission approved the merger on Dec. 22. UK clearance followed regulatory approval in Norway and Turkey. Canada is expected to follow suit.

Live Nation announced plans to buy Ticketmaster Entertainment for about $400 million in stock in February 2009. This news came not long after Live Nation launched its own ticketing service, and signed multimillion dollar 360 deals with superstars including Jay-Z and Madonna.

Opponents of the merger argued that Live Nation Ticketmaster would have a monopoly on the touring industry. They believed the combined company would have control over a large share of the ticketing market, many of the country’s major venues, and would have ties to numerous superstar artists.

Ticketmaster holds a majority stake in Front Line Management which, in turn, has partnerships with several top Nashville managers, including Dale Morris & Associates (Kenny Chesney), DS Management (Alison Krauss), and Spalding Entertainment (Brooks & Dunn, Jason Aldean).

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Category: Featured, Financial/Legal, Touring

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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