DOJ approves Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger after settlement

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Canadian Competition Bureau [official websites] reached an agreement on Monday to allow the merger [press release] between Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc. and Live Nation, Inc. [corporate websites]. The two companies agreed to the 10-year settlement terms set by the DOJ and the Competition Bureau, which had determined [press release] after reviewing the original merger terms that the move "raised serious economic concerns" and "would deter other companies from entering the market to compete against the merged" corporation. According to the DOJ, the settlement [press release]:


will require Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. to license its ticketing software, divest ticketing assets and subject itself to anti-retaliation provisions in order to proceed with its proposed merger with Live Nation Inc. ... [to] protect competition for primary ticketing, which will in turn maintain incentives for innovation and discounting.

The settlement will enable Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and another suitable buyer, likely Comcast-Spectacor [corporate websites], to compete with the merged corporation.

The Obama administration has pledged to increase reviews of proposed mergers. In September, the DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission [official website] announced [press release] that they are considering revisions to the Horizontal Mergers Guidelines. In May, the DOJ announced [JURIST report] that it would reverse Bush administration antitrust policies [press release] that made it difficult to act against large companies that harm the interests of smaller companies. In September 2008, three of the four sitting FTC members denounced [JURIST report] a report [PDF text; DOJ materials] released by the DOJ as "a blueprint for radically weakened enforcement" of federal antitrust law.

 

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