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Swiss regulator blocks ticketing merger

Tamedia says it is considering legal action after the Federal Competition Commission blocked the merger of its Starticket company with Ticketcorner

By Jon Chapple on 24 May 2017

Ticketcorner CEO Andreas Angehrn, Ringier

Ticketcorner CEO Andreas Angehrn

image © Ringier

The Swiss Federal Competition Commission has refused to sanction the agreed merger of Switzerland’s two largest ticket agencies, Starticket and Ticketcorner.

Ticketcorner – jointly owned by CTS Eventim and Zurich-based conglomerate Ringier – and Starticket – a division of mass-media giant Tamedia – announced their intention to merge last November, five months after the registration of Ticketmaster Switzerland GmbH by Live Nation Luxembourg, which sparked rumours of a local launch of Ticketmaster.

The Federal Competition Commission (Wettbewerbskommission, Weko) began investigating the merger in February, saying it had found evidence of “the creation or strengthening of a dominant market position” in the Swiss ticketing market.

Announcing its decision yesterday, Weko said the new company would have constituted a monopoly, gaining an “increasingly dominant position” for ticket sales in Switzerland.

“The proposed merger would allow the two companies to control the Swiss market … and eliminate effective competition”

“The proposed merger would allow the two companies to control the Swiss market for third-party sales of tickets and eliminate effective competition,” reads a statement. “In addition, the companies’ links with two large media groups, Ringier and Tamedia, would have strengthened the position of the new company in the market (conglomerate effects).”

A statement from Tamedia says the company “regrets the decision” and reserves the right to take legal action.

“The rejection of the merger by the Competition Commission fails to recognise the dynamic development taking place in the ticketing market and weakens Swiss suppliers in international competition,” it says.


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