UK Competition Commission provisionally rules against the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation

On 8 October 2009 the UK Competition Commission announced that is has provisionally ruled against the proposed merger of Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc. and Live Nation, Inc. as their merger would limit the development of competition in the market for live music ticket retailing in the UK.

The Competition Commission is specifically concerned that the merger could inhibit the entry of a new competitor, CTS Eventim, into the UK ticketing market. Live Nation has signed an agreement with CTS on ticketing services for live music events and venues in the UK, which absent the merger would have introduced growing competition in the market currently dominated by Ticketmaster and another large ticketing agent. The merger would, according to Competition Commission, give Live Nation the incentive to impede CTS’s entry by, in particular, reducing the supply of its tickets to CTS. If CTS thus would not become an additional effective competitor to Ticketmaster, the merger could lead to higher net prices, lower service quality and less innovation in the market.

The Competition Commission has invited comments on the provisional findings and has issued a notice on possible actions that could remedy the competition concerns identified. [Juha Vesala]