(This story was updated Tuesday, December 15, 2009, at 6:37pm)
In a move designed to keep the pressure on federal regulators probing the deal, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) is holding a press conference this week with consumer groups that oppose the merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation, TicketNews has learned.
Details for the event were still being worked out today, December 14, but initial plans called for the press conference to be held on Wednesday in Washington, DC. Among the participants are representatives from the National Association of Ticket Brokers; the National Consumers League; the American Antitrust Institute; and music industry professionals.
An advisory for the press conference can be seen by clicking here. Scheduled to join Rep. Pascrell are Rep. Joseph Courtney, (D-CT), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT).
Pascrell has been a vocal opponent of the proposed $2.5 billion merger, which is still being reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the UK Competition Commission. Both groups are expected to issue final recommendations about the deal next month.
During the summer, Pascrell corralled 50 signatures from fellow members of Congress on a letter of opposition he drafted that he sent to DOJ officials.
In recent weeks, several consumer groups – such as the National Consumers League and the Consumer Federation of America – have come out against the merger, claiming the deal would adversely impact fans because the companies would control too big a slice of the ticketing and live music industries and could raise ticket prices at will.
Officials from Ticketmaster and Live Nation have been working furiously behind the scenes to try to convince regulators that the deal should go through, in part because they believe it will help fix a broken live entertainment industry. The two are considering concessions, such as selling off some assets, to help push the deal through, and have reportedly enlisted the help of cable television giant Comcast, owner of Philadelphia sports teams and New Era Tickets, to buy some assets.
“We will not relent in our commitment to protecting consumers and the American free market,” Pascrell said in a statement. “The combination of the top-two highest-ranked ticket-selling companies in the market would significantly quell opportunities for competition and lead to higher ticket prices and fees for concert goers.”