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CMA investigates Live Nation-MCD merger

LN-Gaiety’s planned acquisition of Denis Desmond-owned promoter MCD Productions is under investigation by UK regulator CMA, as Irish watchdog continues its case

By Anna Grace on 15 May 2019

Denis Desmond, MCD Productions

Denis Desmond

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating LN-Gaiety Holdings’ (LNG) planned merger with Irish promoter MCD Productions, joining its counterpart in Ireland which launched a ‘phase 2’ investigation into the acquisition in January.

LNG – a joint venture between Live Nation UK and Denis Desmond’s Gaiety Investments – announced its plans to acquire Desmond’s company MCD Productions in August. Desmond succeeded John Probyn as Live Nation UK and Ireland chairman in 2015, although MCD remained independent. The acquisition was described as the “logical next step” for the two companies.

The planned merger first caught the attention of the Republic of Ireland’s consumer protection agency, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), who launched an investigation into the deal.

“The logical next step” for LNG, the acquisition would significantly strengthen the relationship between Live Nation UK and its chairman

The Irish competition watchdog then embarked on a further ‘phase 2’, after being “unable to conclude that the proposed transaction will not lead to a substantial lessening of competition in any market for goods or services”.

Now, the CCPC’s UK counterpart has announced its own investigation into the acquisition.

The CMA launched a similar investigation into Live Nation’s 2017 takeover of Isle of Wight Festival, concerned that the deal would stifle the British festival market. Live Nation was cleared in September of the same year.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) requested a separate inquiry into Live Nation’s alleged dominance of the UK festival market in August 2017, although CMA did not act on the appeal.

CMA is expected to give its decision based on stage one of the investigation by 11 July.


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