UK Postpones LN-TM Decision

The UK’s Competition Commission has postponed its decision on the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger until Jan. 19.

Having published its provisional findings October 8, which cited “a substantial lessening of competition in the market for the primary retailing of tickets for live music events” as a reason to block the merger, the CC’s now saying it’s received a substantial number of responses to this and needs more time too consider them.

“The range of possible remedies is complex, and the group wishes to explore all the possible remedies with both the parties to the merger and third parties,” the CC said in a statement.

“As the proposed merger is being investigated by competition authorities in other geographic markets, the CC’s guidance also requires the group to consult with relevant competition authorities in other jurisdictions to seek consistency and effectiveness in its approach to remedies.”

At press time it wasn’t possible to get comment from Live Nation’s London office, although Paul Latham – the company’s chief operating office in the U.K. – had earlier voiced the opinion that the CC may well need more time to consider the issue.

The CC’s announcement seems to hint at the difficulties of giving a UK ruling on whether two US-based companies could work as one in the UK, particularly as the American monopoly authority has yet to give its ruling on the deal.

“We believe the CC has done a thorough analysis of the situation and has released well grounded provisional findings,” said CTS Eventim legal and communications chief Rainer Appel, after his company’s UK market position was highlighted as one of the CC’s major concerns.

“We are absolutely confident that we will be able to meet all of our contractual obligations under our LN agreement in the UK and elsewhere,” was his response to questions about whether his company will be able to comply with the part of that deal that commits Eventim to begin selling LN tickets in the UK as of January 1.