LN-Ticketmaster Blocked In UK

The UK’s competition regulator has provisionally ruled against the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger because it could lead to higher prices and less competition.

It said the two firms joining forces could damage the market for the sale of live music tickets and hurt LN’s existing partnership with CTS Eventim, a new competitor in the British market.

“We believe that, if the merger proceeds, Live Nation will seek to limit its relationship with CTS, with the effect of putting CTS’s future prospects in the UK in considerable doubt,” Competition Commission deputy chairman Christopher Clarke explained.

The ticketing group and the world’s largest concert promoter announced their merger plan earlier this year, but it has raised antitrust concerns on both sides of the Atlantic and is also being examined by the U.S. Department of Justice.

“We believe this merger will build a more efficient and effective company moving forward, and that working together we will be able to help achieve needed change that will strengthen a flagging music industry,” said a Ticketmaster statement, after the CC said it would propose remedies – such as the divestment of the British business of either Ticketmaster or Live Nation, or other measures to ensure a smaller player can survive.

It said Ticketmaster’s still committed to the merger and stressed that live music was now the driving force behind the industry after piracy and changing business models damaged the recording business.

“We firmly believe that our merger achieves an important and much needed public interest, and remain optimistic that it will ultimately be approved,” the statement said.

Click here to see a joint statement from TM/LN released shortly after.

The Commission will consider responses to this proposal before publishing its final report, due on Nov. 24.