DOJ Approves Conditional Live Nation Ticketmaster Merger

LF125Merger

Today, the DOJ approved the Live Nation Ticketmaster merger.  But in the process they added a few modifications.

We’ve followed the merger story for the last year and now it’s official as TicketNews reports:

Under terms of the deal, Ticketmaster must license its ticketing software to Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to help it become a viable competitor instead of a customer of Ticketmaster. In addition, Ticketmaster must sell its Paciolan primary ticketing division to Comcast-Spectacor, which currently controls much of Philadelphia’s sports, venue and ticketing ventures.

Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney, who leads the DOJ’s antitrust division, said during a press conference Monday announcing the agreement that the DOJ will be “vigilant” in its role as watchdog over the combined companies.

Ticketnews says Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino and Ticketmaster Entertainment CEO Irving Azoff expressed their gratitude in the deal being approved. And that Rapino will lead the new company, Live Nation Entertainment, as its president and CEO, while Azoff will be Executive Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and CEO of Front Line Management, the artist management company he sold to Ticketmaster in 2008:

“This is a good and exciting day for the music business, and we are close to finalizing the creation of a new company that will seek to transform the way artists distribute their content and fans can access that content,” Rapino said. “The Department of Justice was thorough and aggressive in their analysis and their remedies, and we are confident that with this resolution the playing field is competitive and broader as a result of this transaction. We believe that this merger will now create a more diversified company with a great selling platform for artists and a stronger financial profile that will drive improved shareholder value over the long term.”

And what does U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., who led a team of 50 senators to opposed the merger on behalf of consumers, think about the approved merger?

“I am currently reviewing the Justice Department’s decision, but clearly I am disappointed. One has to wonder what it was that U.S. antitrust authorities saw as a greater priority than American consumers and the free market,” Pascrell said.

Reading the rest of the report there seems to be a few loose ends and unclear details pending.  But for the most part it appears to be a done deal.

Well, now that it’s official, I’m sure there’ll be a flood of responses from the music industry in the following days, so I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

What do you think about the merger?

Good? Bad? Ugly?  Don’t care?

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