Earlier today, January 25, cable business news channel CNBC reported that the planned merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation had been approved by the Department of Justice (DOJ), and by this afternoon Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney had scheduled a press conference about the deal.
Exactly what Varney was going to disclose was not revealed ahead of time, and the CNBC report was vague about whether the deal had been approved outright or with concessions.
DOJ attorneys have investigated the deal for a year and a decision was originally expected before the end of 2009.
Varney’s press conference briefing prior to the event only said that it would be a “significant enforcement announcement.”
The two companies said the deal was necessary to help fix a broken live entertainment and ticketing system, but critics of the deal said it would consolidate concerts and ticketing under one, monopolistic roof, and it should be turned down under antitrust concerns.
News of the possible approval comes as German ticketing giant CTS Eventim has lodged a complaint with the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal over the UK Competition Commission’s (CC) approval of the merger a few weeks ago.
The CC had initially voiced concerns over the deal, in part because of the potential affect it would have on CTS, but the commission reversed itself when it approved the deal, stressing that it would not adversely affect CTS.
TicketNews is following the story and will have updates throughout the day.