On Tuesday, February 24, the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the matter, and on Thursday, February 26, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy has scheduled its own similar hearing. Officials have not yet disclosed the witness lists, but expect representatives of the two companies to participate. The Senate subcommittee is chaired by Sen. Herb Kohl, D-WI, and the House committee is chaired by Rep. Hank Johnson, D-GA.
The proposed merger is already being reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, and has drawn considerable scrutiny from politicians, promoters, ticket brokers, financial analysts and artists since it was formally announced last week.
In addition, Ticketmaster shareholders have filed a class action lawsuit to block the merger on the grounds that they believe Ticketmaster’s worth has been undervalued.
“Any merger between two companies who would otherwise compete against each other raises significant antitrust concern when those companies already have significant market power,” Rep. Johnson said in a statement. “If the merger goes through, it would create the world’s largest concert promoter and seller of tickets to live entertainment events. I am concerned about the effect this merger will have on competition, and the impact it would have on ticket costs to the public.”
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-TX, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, also believes the proposed merger must be studied. “The proposed vertical merger between the nation’s premier concert promoter with the nation’s largest ticket provider presents novel and important issues that Congress and the Justice Department must consider carefully,” Smith said in a statement. “We have a responsibility to ensure that this merger does not result in higher prices and fewer choices for music fans across the nation.”
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