Having been ordered to reconsider the deal, the UK Competition Commission (CC) will release its new decision concerning the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger by May 11.
The move to reconsider the merger, which has received approval from the U.S. Justice Department with conditions, was issued earlier this month by the Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT), following an appeal made by German ticketing company CTS Eventim.
“In its report published in December last year, the CC cleared the merger, concluding it would not result in a substantial lessening of competition in the market for live music ticket retailing or in any other market in the UK, including live music promotion and live music venues,” the CC said in a statement.
Prior to issuing the December report, the CC released preliminary findings in the fall that singled out Eventim as possibly being harmed by the merger, but the final report reversed those findings.
Eventim successfully argued before CAT that the CC had not given the company enough chance to respond to concerns about the merger, and the company and others will now have until early March to file opposition statements.
Whether the reconsideration will have any effect is unknown.
“The merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation completed (subject to conditions) in the USA on 25 January 2010 following approval from the Department of Justice,” the CC said in a statement. “This means that during the period of reconsideration the CC will be concerned with a completed merger, rather than an anticipated merger.”
In the UK, Ticketmaster and Live Nation combined control less than 50 percent of the ticketing market, whereas in the U.S. that percentage is about 80 percent. As such, the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision carried certain conditions with it, including requiring Ticketmaster to sell its Paciolan ticketing division to Comcast-Spectacor, and possibly licensing its ticketing software to rival concert promoter Anschutz Entertainment Group.
Separately, Eventim and Live Nation have a ticketing contract where Eventim built and operates Live Nation’s ticketing apparatus, which it launched in early 2009. Live Nation, now referred to as Live Nation Entertainment post-merger, said it intends to honor that contract, but Eventim is concerned what will happen now that Ticketmaster is onboard.