Monday, June 17, 2024

Live Nation: US Department of Justice to sue TicketMaster owner

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The US Justice Department (DOJ) is set to file a competition lawsuit against entertainment giant Live Nation as early as Thursday, multiple sources familiar with the matter confirmed to the BBC’s US partner, CBS News.

Prosecutors are expected to challenge the Ticketmaster parent company’s business practices, the sources said.

In many instances, when the DOJ sues over competition issues it seeks to force a firm to split off parts of its business or change how it operates.

The DOJ declined to comment when approached by the BBC. The BBC has also requested comment from Live Nation.

The federal government will be joined in its legal challenge by numerous state attorneys general, said the Washington Post, which first reported the story.

The lawsuit is expected to allege that the business – which puts on concerts, sells tickets and owns venues – has squeezed out competitors and weakened customer choice, which helped to push up prices.

The move comes after an investigation by DOJ’s anti-trust division that spanned years. In 2022, CBS News reported that the Justice Department was looking at the company and its Ticketmaster unit.

Live Nation Entertainment was created by the merger in 2010 of US-based events promoter Live Nation and ticket sales and distribution company Ticketmaster.

At the time, the DOJ approved the deal despite concerns that it would create a giant capable of dominating the live entertainment industry.

Live Nation Entertainment has faced growing criticism from fans, lawmakers, artists and competitors.

The company has been accused of having too much influence over live entertainment events in the US and around the world.

In November 2022, Ticketmaster angered Taylor Swift fans when its website crashed during a pre-sale period for the Eras Tour.

After news of the DOJ case was reported, Live Nation’s shares fell by more than 6% in after-hours trading in New York.

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