Live Nation’s London office isn’t waiting to see if German ticketing giant CTS Eventim makes any response to the UK Competition Commission’s second approval of the Ticketmaster-LN merger.
It’s just getting on with the job of uniting with its new U.S. partner.
“One can never tell what our German partners will or won’t do, but I’m certainly not sitting here holding my breath,” Paul Latham, Live Nation chief operating officer for international music, told Pollstar.
“This is the only place in the world where a competition authority has had issues with approving the merger, and that’s created a hiatus that made it hard to get on with the job,” he said.
The Commission cleared the deal in December but that verdict was challenged by Eventim, which claimed there wasn’t sufficient time to fully detail the effect the merger would have on Eventim’s entry into the UK market.
Eventim persuaded the Competition Appeal Tribunal to quash the decision and refer the case back to the Competition Commission, where its arguments and submissions have made no more impression than they did the first time around.
The second approval of the merger re-affirms the CC’s decision that the LN-TM merger won’t have much effect on LN’s contract with Eventim or the German company’s market position.
The CC said Live Nation was still contractually bound to provide Eventim with tickets, and that it had committed to do so. Therefore, the merger shouldn’t hinder Eventim’s expansion into the UK market. It also said that expansion was Eventim’s own responsibility, not Live Nation’s.
Latham, who was always confident the merger would be approved a second time and that there would be “no concessions,” said he hasn’t thought about how the decision would affect Eventim’s position in the UK. He said he’s had no contact from the German company since the CC decision was announced.
Eventim has not responded to Pollstar’s questions regarding a response to the CC’s decision and whether it plans to take any further action against Live Nation.
Apart from battling it out with the UK Competition Commission, Eventim has also filed a U.S. claim against the global concert promoter, which is basedin Los Angeles.
The LN-TM merger has already been allowed in the U.S., but Eventim’s alleging that it’s caused Live Nation to breach an agreement to license Eventim’s ticket platform.
The action’s been filed with the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, usually a fast-track way to get a resolution, rather than a lengthy court battle.
The procedural rules are somewhat more liberal and tend to favour the plaintiff, in this case Eventim, than would be the case in a typical lawsuit.