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Live Nation, Ticketmaster Merger Facing Scrutiny

PLSN Staff • News • February 23, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division held hearings last week on the merger agreement between Live Nation, the nation’s biggest concert promoter, and Ticketmaster Entertainment, the biggest live-event ticketing service.

Under a plan announced last month, Ticketmaster and Live Nation hoped to complete a "merger of equals" to form a new entity, Live Nation Entertainment.

 

If approved, Ticketmaster shareholders will receive 1.384 shares of Live Nation common stock for each share of Ticketmaster they own, subject to certain adjustments defined within the agreement. Live Nation and Ticketmaster shareholders will each own approximately 50 percent of the combined company.

 

Barry Diller, chairman of Ticketmaster, noted that the proposed merger was announced “less than two months” after Ticketmaster and Live Nation “ended a 10-year partnership. I’m extremely glad we could reunite with this combination.”

 

Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff and Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation, also lauded the deal, and the two companies are forecasting $40 million of operating synergies as their ticketing, marketing, data centers and back-office functions get streamlined.

 

But not everyone was cheering the proposed merger. At Senate hearings on Feb. 24, execs from both companies fielded barbed questions from Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Charles Schumer (D-NY), and the antitrust grilling continued by House of Representatives members on Feb. 26.

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