Live Nation and its ticketing subsidiary Ticketmaster are the subject of a forthcoming antitrust lawsuit by the Department of Justice, and for the first time since the news broke, a Live Nation executive has spoken out on the looming suit.

During Live Nation’s Quarter 1 earnings call last week — where the live entertainment giant reported a jump in revenue to $3.8 billion — the company’s president and CFO Joe Berchtold spoke to investors about the DOJ’s investigation into the pair’s merger, as well as the reported upcoming suit. According to IQ Mag, Berchtold pointed to his previous statement, noting that “the DOJ’s investigation appears to be focused on specific business practices, not the legality of Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger or our overall business structure.”

| READ:  Department of Justice to File Antitrust Lawsuit Against Live Nation |

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“Very little of the conduct that DOJ has raised with us relates to the combination of ticketing and promotion resulting from the merger,” Berchtold said. “And most of what does was anticipated and addressed by the consent decree allowing the merger to go forward.”

“Based on the issues we know about, we don’t believe a breakup of Live Nation and Ticketmaster would be a legally permissible remedy. Live Nation and Ticketmaster came together lawfully through a merger that the DOJ reviewed and approved subject to divestitures and other remedies. The DOJ has repeatedly stated in court filings the merger and settlement were in public interest.”

Berchtold went on to say that “structural relief such as the divestiture is rarely granted” and “legally, it’s only available where there is a strong connection between the corporate structure and the company’s ability to engage in the allegedly unlawful conduct.”

“We believe that connection is lacking with regard to the bulk of the issues in this investigation, since the conduct under scrutiny falls either within our ticketing segment or within our concert segment and not across those segments,” Berchtold said, noting that they hope to resolve any remaining disputes, “but if not, we’re prepared to defend ourselves in court.”

| READ: Justice Department Has Opened an Anti-Trust Investigation of Live Nation |

The antitrust lawsuit, which is reportedly due this month, follows the department’s investigation of Live Nation last year amid calls for the companies to be broken-up following Taylor Swift’s disastrous Eras Tour ticketing fiasco. While specific charges against the pair were not determined for the lawsuit, the companies have been consistently accused of multiple anticompetitive business practices from the start of their tie-up.

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In 2019, the corporation agreed to refine and extend a 2010 consent decree regarding certain business practices, after it was determined that the company regularly violated the decree by threatening companies who did not use Ticketmaster that shows would not be booked at their venues. Nonetheless, Ticketmaster and Live Nation continue to say that they operate above-board and that the woes of consumers in ticketing are driven entirely by ticket resale rather than its own allegedly monopolistic control of the industry.