The two biggest names in concert promotion and ticketing have formally agreed to become one. The Boards of Directors of Live Nation and Ticketmaster...

The two biggest names in concert promotion and ticketing have formally agreed to become one.

The Boards of Directors of Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment Monday night, February 9, voted unanimously to merge, creating a company that could control upwards of 70 percent of the concert market.

According to a joint statement from the two companies, the deal calls for the new company to be named Live Nation Entertainment, and Live Nation will offer 1.384 shares of its stock for each share of Ticketmaster stock. Currently, Live Nation’s shares trade under the symbol LYV, while Ticketmaster’s trade under the symbol TKTM. Equity in the new company will be split equally between shareholders of each company.


Shares from the two companies have not fared well in recent months as Wall Street questioned the long-term prospects of each. Live Nation stock was up about 9 percent this morning to $5.77 per share, while trading on Ticketmaster stock was stopped at $6.57 per share on Monday. See tickers below.

When the deal will close, however, is unknown because it is sure to receive heavy scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division. In addition, the shareholders of the two companies must also approve the merger.

The two companies are stressing that the merger will improve transparency in the marketplace, and also offer more “ticket pricing options” for fans, but whether that means a drop in prices is unknown.

Barry Diller, Chairman of Ticketmaster Entertainment, will be Chairman of the Board of the new company, and Michael Rapino, currently CEO and President of Live Nation, will serve in the same role at Live Nation Entertainment. Irving Azoff, CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment, will become Executive Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and CEO of Front Line. Live Nation Entertainment’s board will consist of 14 directors, seven from each company, according to the two companies, and they will continue to operate independently until the deal closes. The new company will be valued at $2.5 billion, and by merging they expect to save $40 million annually.

“This combination will drive measurable benefits to consumers and accelerate the execution of our strategy to build a better artist-to-fan direct distribution platform,” Rapino said in a statement. “As every industry observer knows, too many tickets go unsold and too many fans are frustrated with their ticket-buying experiences. The current inefficiencies in the system result in higher costs and confusion over access to seats. Together, we will work to simplify the ticketing process and ultimately increase attendance at live events. This is also a logical step in the evolution of our business model, creating a more diversified company with a stronger financial profile that will drive improved shareholder value over the long term.”

Azoff said in a statement, “This merger, and the resources of these combined companies, will create a new dynamic and unique creative platform of choice for fans across all levels of the live entertainment experience. There is nothing more magical than the bond and the intimate relationship of fans to artists. It is truly an experience that needs to be embraced and nurtured with both integrity and respect. One of the mandates of the combined company will be to develop that bond to unsurpassed levels. Additionally, the Live Nation and Ticketmaster relationship will allow the live entertainment community and their respective venues to reach fans on unparalleled platforms. I look forward to working closely with Michael Rapino and the Live Nation team during this exciting and industry changing time.”

Opposition to the merger has grown since news of the plan broke last week, but it has not only been relegated to the U.S.

“The combination of Live Nation and Ticketmaster will create a company that controls over 70 percent of the UK ticketing market, the country’s largest music promoter and management of over 200 of the world’s top artists. Neither party has suggested how this tie-up in any way could be in the interests of fans,” said Joe Cohen, founder and CEO of UK-based Seatwave, in a statement. “Such an entity could easily control prices and supply in the market, crowd out other promoters and stifle innovation in a sector that sits in the centre of the UK culture. This deal will most certainly mean that we will see increased prices on tickets and job cuts in both companies.”

View the full lyv chart at Wikinvest

View the full tktm chart at Wikinvest

More TicketMaster/LiveNation merger news

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Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: Canadian AG investigates Ticketmaster 03/02/2009
Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: National Association of Ticket Brokers irate 02/27/2009
Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: Azoff would consider selling TicketsNow 02/26/2009
Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: Azoff, Rapino and new speakers for House hearing 02/25/2009
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Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: Companies grilled by skeptical Senators 02/24/2009
Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: Senate hearing to be webcast 02/24/2009
Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: New Jersey AG settles investigation with Ticketmaster over Bruce Springsteen tickets 02/23/2009
Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: Shareholder lawsuit details deal’s undervaluation 02/20/2009
Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: Azoff, Rapino to testify at Senate hearing 02/20/2009
Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: Dates set for congressional hearings 02/18/2009
Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: Ticketmaster shareholders sue to block the proposed deal 02/17/2009
Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: Law firm launches investigation into TicketsNow 02/16/2009
Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: Live Nation expects strong 4th Quarter 02/13/2009
Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: major shareholder may oppose the deal 02/13/2009
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Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: stocks take a beating 02/12/2009
Visa fires back at Ticketmaster for ‘glitch’ statement 02/11/2009
U.S. Justice Department launches review of Live Nation, Ticketmaster merger 02/11/2009
LiveStub CEO Michael Hershfield discusses the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger 02/11/2009
Ticketmaster and Live Nation claim now was the best time to merge 02/10/2009
Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment agree to unprecedented merger 02/10/2009
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Ticketmaster, TicketsNow face $500 million class action suit in Canada 02/09/2009
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Ticketmaster apologizes to Bruce Springsteen and his fans over ticket mix-up 02/05/2009
Bruce Springsteen rips Ticketmaster over tickets and proposed Live Nation merger 02/04/2009
TicketNetwork CEO Don Vaccaro speaks with Fox Business about Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger 02/04/2009
Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment talk merger 02/04/2009

By Alfred Branch Jr.