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Swiss regulator blocks ticketing merger

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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Competition watchdog probes Ticketcorner merger

The Swiss Competition Commission (Wettbewerbskommission, Weko) is to investigate the merger of the country’s leading ticket agencies, Ticketcorner and Starticket, over concerns the combined company would have a monopoly on ticketing in Switzerland.

Ticketcorner and Starticket, which between them control around 85% of the live entertainment ticket market, announced their intention to merge in November, with 75% of the shares in the new operation held by Ticketcorner’s parent companies, CTS Eventim and Ringier, and 25% by Starticket parent Tamedia.

“Weko will consider what consequences the proposed merger will have on competition”

“Following a preliminary examination,” says a statement from the commission, “Weko has found evidence of the creation or strengthening of a dominant market position, in particular in the distribution of tickets to third parties and software solutions offered to event promoters. For this reason, Weko will consider what consequences the proposed merger will have on competition.”

The commission adds its investigation will be concluded by 13 June.

 


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