LN and Ticketmaster hit back after the Department of Justice reveals it is probing alleged "violations" of conditions attached to their 2012 merger
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The US Department of Justice has reached an agreement with Live Nation, extending the consent decree governing its 2010 merger with Ticketmaster to 2025
By Anna Grace on 20 Dec 2019
Live Nation’s share price rose by US$6.79 to $70.60 yesterday (Thursday 19 December) following news that it had reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) over antitrust allegations.
The DOJ had opened investigations into Live Nation last Friday over concerns that the company had violated the terms of a decree governing its 2010 merger with Ticketmaster.
Both Live Nation and Ticketmaster refuted all allegations of anti-competitive practice.
As part of the settlement, the DOJ is extending and modifying the decree that permits the merger, and which was set to expire next year, until 2025. The justice department calls the agreement the “most significant enforcement action of an antitrust decree in 20 years”.
Following the news, Live Nation’s stock, which had dropped to around $64 per share following news of the DOJ investigation, rebounded to the levels it had been trading at before, jumping almost 10% to just over $70. Shares remained up at $69.83 at the time of writing.
“We believe this is the best outcome for our business, clients and shareholders as we turn our focus to 2020 initiatives”
“We have reached an agreement in principle with the Department of Justice to extend and clarify the consent decree,” comments a Live Nation spokesperson. “We believe this is the best outcome for our business, clients and shareholders as we turn our focus to 2020 initiatives.”
Under the terms of the modified agreement, Live Nation is prohibited from pressuring venues to use Ticketmaster and from withholding shows from a venue if it chooses to go with another ticketer. An independent party will monitor Live Nation’s compliance with the decree, and a $1 million fine will be levied for any violation of the agreement.
“When Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010, the Department of Justice and the federal court imposed conditions on the company in order to preserve and promote ticketing competition,” says assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.
“Today’s enforcement action including the addition of language on retaliation and conditioning will ensure that American consumers get the benefit of the bargain that the United States and Live Nation agreed to in 2010. Merging parties will be held to their promises and the Department will not tolerate transgressions that hurt the American consumer.”
The full DOJ statement can be read here.
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