Published Feb 11, 2009Well, it's official: Live Nation and Ticketmaster are set to merge. This even bigger, stronger and potentially eviler live music behemoth will be called Live Nation Entertainment and will combine the companies' ticketing, marketing and offices in a tax-free, all-stock merger, which comes with a combined value of about $2.5 billion.
"Being able to put Live Nation and Ticketmaster into an equal partnership will allow the companies to get through this difficult period and be able to expand live entertainment options to audiences throughout the world," Ticketmaster Chairman Barry Diller said in a statement released Tuesday (February 10), adding: "Combination will drive greater access, transparency and choice in ticketing to serve fans, artists and the entire live entertainment industry [and] will improve live event attendance, supporting venues and a healthier industry."
However, the deal is subject to the usual legal issues and will likely face a significant antitrust battle, with accusations already flying that the two companies are forming a ticketing monopoly. Also, Ticketmaster will have that $500-million class-action lawsuit, which was filed in Canada, to deal with, not to mention the Boss, Bruce Springsteen, who has already spoken out against the merger.
"The one thing that would make the current ticket situation even worse for the fan than it is now would be Ticketmaster and Live Nation coming up with a single system, thereby returning us to a near monopoly situation in music ticketing," Rolling Stone quotes Springsteen as saying. "If you, like us, oppose that idea, you should make it known to your representatives."
Live Nation Entertainment is expected to sell more than 150 million concert tickets a year, promote 22,000 concerts annually and own more than 140 venues globally. If the merger is approved, the company would also handle more than 200 big-name artists, including Madonna, Jay-Z, the Eagles and U2.