Class action lawsuit launched against Live Nation
A number of legal firms have instigated class action lawsuits against Live Nation over claims the company downplayed allegations that it had breached antitrust laws.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, New York-based Bernstein Liebhard has invited investors to join a lawsuit against LN filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California, with three other law firms reportedly having done the same.
The letter alleges the defendants “made materially false and misleading statements”, failing to disclose that Live Nation “engaged in anticompetitive conduct, including charging high fees and extended contracts with talent, and retaliated against venues”.
“As a result, Live Nation was reasonably likely to incur regulatory scrutiny and face fines, penalties, and reputational harm,” it continues.
It follows Politico‘s 28 July report that the Department of Justice could file an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation and Ticketmaster – who merged in 2010 – by the end of 2023, alleging that “the entertainment giant is abusing its power over the live music industry”. LN’s stock price fell 7.8% after the report.
“There has never been a situation where the DOJ has come and attempted to retrade a settlement”
Live Nation is yet to comment on the proceedings. However, CFO Joe Berchtold alluded to the DoJ investigation at Morgan Stanley’s Technology, Media and Telecom Conference back in March, stating it could have a “chilling impact on their ability to do settlements ever again”, due to its previous settlements with LN in 2010 and 2019.
“We have a binding agreement with the DOJ as it relates to any perceived deeds in the past, much as you have individual settlements,” he said. “There has never been a situation where the DOJ has come and attempted to retrade a settlement. So a) there are legal questions about whether or not they could retrade a settlement. And b) it would have a chilling impact on their ability to ever do settlements again.
“The first barrier that you got to overcome is the fact we’ve actually had settlements. Two, is it seems to be, pick any random data path you want and it’s, ‘Ticketmaster’s a monopoly, therefore Live Nation-Ticketmaster should be broken up.’”
Berchtold said the assertion that Ticketmaster is a monopoly was not borne out by the facts.
“Market share has declined and more of the money has consistently gone to the venues, as opposed to Ticketmaster,” he said. “Neither of those things happens with a monopoly.”
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.