Blumenthal not on board with Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger

John O'Brien Feb. 10, 2009, 5:56pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is not happy that two major concert promoters are planning to merge.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation made their agreement official Tuesday, combining $2.5 billion in stocks to create Live Nation Entertainment. Blumenthal, who is already investigating Ticketmaster for allegedly running up the price of a Bruce Springsteen concert.

"Ticketmaster and Live Nation may be on the verge of seeking to fuse forces and establish one powerful company that will virtually rule the music industry, including ticketing, artist management and control over major concert venues," Blumenthal said.

Last week, Blumenthal said he received complaints from consumers who said they could not purchase Springsteen tickets from the Ticketmaster Web site because it was either down because of technical difficulties or it said the show was sold out.

Blumenthal is attempting to discover if Ticketmaster was intentionally steering customers to its TicketsNow subsidiary to charge higher prices.

The merger, Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff said, will benefit concert-goers.

"This merger, and the resources of these combined companies, will create a new dynamic and unique creative platform of choice for fans across all levels of the live entertainment experience," he said.

Blumenthal isn't so sure.

"This merger is an important test case for the new federal administration's competition enforcement team," he said.

"I am confident that they will take seriously the risks of this potential merger. My office stands ready to work as an ally with the federal government to ensure that consumers and the competitive market are protected."

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