In a ruling that certainly will impact on the future of live entertainment, the Department of Justice has approved the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation. The DOJ had been examining the potential union of the two companies for a year and some observers had expected that the government would determine that the merger violates the country’s antitrust laws. As it now stands, the new entity brings together a soup to nuts approach by owning: many major music venues, the nation’s major ticketing company, the country’s largest event promoter and also Irving Azoff’s powerful Front Line Management group. While some had suspected that the government would require Ticketmaster to divest itself of its TicketsNow secondary ticketing site, the DOJ failed to make this a condition of the merger. It did however state that Ticketmaster must license its ticketing software to AEG Live and sell Paciolan, the company it owns which creates ticketing software for facilities. The DOJ also vows that, “Under the settlement, the merged firm will be forbidden from retaliating against any venue owner that chooses to use another company’s ticketing services or another company’s promotional services, including restrictions on anticompetitive bundling.” The new company will be called Live Nation Entertainment.
The details of the ruling can be found at the Department of Justice website.