Jerry Brown (D)

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-A group of 17 state attorneys general and the U.S. Department of Justice this week approved a merger of Ticketmaster and LiveNation after the two companies agreed to contractual changes that would create a more competitive market for concert tickets.

The merger agreement allows for two new primary ticketing competitors. Concert promoter AEG will be able to "self-ticket" and offer ticketing services at other venues, while Ticketmaster will divest its Paciolan computer ticketing system unit, under the merger agreement.

"Ticketmaster and LiveNation together dominate the market for concert tickets," California Attorney General Jerry Brown said. "Without serious competition, concert-goers will inevitably pay more for concert tickets. With this merger agreement, we're taking an important step to ensure a more competitive market for concert-ticket sales."

West Hollywood, Calif.-based Ticketmaster Entertainment operates approximately 7,100 retail outlets and 17 worldwide call centers. In 2008, the company sold more than 141 million tickets valued at more than $8.9 billion.

Beverly Hills, Calif.-based LiveNation promotes, markets and sells live concerts. The company operates 140 venues in the United States. Starting in January 2009, LiveNation entered into the ticketing business, in direct competition with Ticketmaster.

In February 2009, Ticketmaster and LiveNation announced that the two companies would merge. Brown's office said they investigated the idea and found that the merger would result in a monopoly.

In addition to California, states participating in the agreement are: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

The settlement was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

"The Department of Justice's proposed remedy promotes robust competition for primary ticketing services and preserves incentives for competitors to innovate and discount, which will benefit consumers," said Christine Varney, the Assistant U.S. attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division.

She added: "The proposed settlement allows for strong competitors to Ticketmaster, allowing concert venues to have more and better choices for their ticketing needs, and provides for anti-retaliation provisions, which will keep the merged company in check."

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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