April 17, 2009 By Alfred Branch Jr.
A third front is to emerging in the ongoing battle that Ticketmaster Entertainment and Live Nation are waging to have their proposed merger approved, as a number of states have banded together to investigate the two companies, joining the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and government officials in Canada.
Attorney general offices in at least eight states, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Florida, Iowa, Illinois and California, where both companies are headquartered, are reportedly working together to investigate the proposed merger, primarily as it relates to their individual states where one or both of the companies have contracts with publicly owned arenas and stadiums.
Under nationally recognized Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut was one of the first states to launch an investigation into the proposed merger, but according to the Bloomberg news service, Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett is spearheading the combined states’ effort. Corbett’s office is not commenting on the investigation.
A spokesperson for Blumenthal’s office said there are no new developments in the investigation that they can elaborate on, but added that the probe was ongoing.
Following an announcement in February that New Jersey reached a settlement with Ticketmaster over its involvement with the sale of Bruce Springsteen tickets through its TicketsNow resale subsidiary, Blumenthal said his office was continuing to investigate the two companies.
“My investigation into Ticketmaster’s recent sale of Bruce Springsteen concert tickets is active and going. My office will carefully review New Jersey’s settlement with Ticketmaster to determine whether it fully addresses complaints raised by Connecticut consumers,” Blumenthal said in a statement at the time. “Depending on the facts uncovered by our investigation, we may seek changes or even a separate agreement, as well as specific remedies for Connecticut ticket buyers that may be appropriate.”
Whether the merger goes through or not has more to do with the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation than the states’, but the federal agency is reportedly working with the states in this effort and would take their findings into account. The DOJ does not approve or deny the proposed merger per se, if the department opposed it officials would come out against it and sue to block it if the two sides tried to proceed with it.