The UK’s Competition Commission has ruled against the proposed merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster because it would discourage competition. At the core of the decision was German ticketing company CTS Eventim who said they would be forced to abandon plans to enter the UK market if the merger went forward.
The Competition Commission did suggest several ways that the two companies could receive its blessing including major divestments or Live Nation selling the majority of it tickets through a third party ticketing firm.
“The merger with Ticketmaster means that Live Nation will have every incentive to inhibit a significant potential rival from entering the UK market and, given the significance to CTS of its agreement with Live Nation in deciding to enter the UK market, we believe that Live Nation would be able to do so," said CC deputy chairman Christopher Clarke.
"We believe that, if the merger proceeds, Live Nation will seek to limit its relationship with CTS, with the effect of putting CTS’s future prospects in the UK in considerable doubt.”
"“We also looked at how the combination of Live Nation, as a promoter and venue operator, with Ticketmaster might adversely affect ticketing agents other than CTS, promoters and venue owners," he Clarke continued. "However, we concluded that it was unlikely that the merged company would have both the ability and incentive to harm them significantly, either by Live Nation restricting the availability of its tickets to other agents or by Ticketmaster refusing to sell tickets for other promoters and venues."
A joint statement issued by Live Nation and Ticketmaster said :“We must be clear about the challenges of the music industry, which is at a decisive crossroad. The recording industry is a shell of its former self. Where the recording industry was once the economic engine for the music business, it is live entertainment that is now the future of the music industry.”