Bloomberg Law: Live Nation Faces Consumer Campaign to Undo Ticketmaster Merger

October 19, 2022 Media

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. is facing a new consumer advocacy campaign that calls on the Justice Department to unwind the company’s 2010 merger with Ticketmaster.

The deal has allegedly driven up live entertainment ticket costs and cut other options, according to the campaign, launched Wednesday by the American Economic Liberties Project, the Consumer Federation of America, the National Consumers League, and others.

Their move follows a series of unsuccessful proposed class actions targeting the alleged ticket monopoly.

The consumer groups are asking supporters to join a letter-writing campaign to convince the Justice Department’s antitrust division to break up the company.

Live Nation and its subsidiary Ticketmaster control more than 70% of the primary ticketing and live event venues market, leading to price hikes and junk fees, the groups alleged.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

“Ticketmaster’s market power over live events is ripping off sports and music fans and undermining the vibrancy and independence of the music industry,” Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project, said in a statement.

The Justice Department approved the merger conditioned on certain behavioral remedies, the divestiture of a subsidiary, and a requirement that Ticketmaster license its ticketing software to a competitor.

In 2020, a federal court granted the DOJ’s request to strengthen some terms of its agreement, after arguing that the company had repeatedly violated the consent decree.

“Some point to Ticketmaster-Live Nation as the poster child for bad vertical mergers, or even failed merger review,” said Eleanor Tyler, a Bloomberg Law legal analyst.

The DOJ didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.