Watchdog opposes Ticketmaster tie-up

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The Independent Culture

Britain's competition watchdog said on Thursday it opposed a merger between music industry giants Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment.

Concert promoter Live Nation and ticket-seller Ticketmaster, both based in the United States, had announced plans in February to create Live Nation Entertainment -- the "world's premier live entertainment company."

But on Thursday the Competition Commission provisionally ruled against the tie-up, claiming it would "limit the development of competition in the (British) market for live music ticket retailing."

"The merger could severely inhibit the entry of a major new competitor (CTS Eventim) into the UK ticketing market," it added in a statement.

Before the planned merger announcement, Live Nation had signed an agreement with CTS to provide ticketing services for its live music events and venues in Britain.

The CC added on Thursday that it would consider responses before publishing its final report, due by November 24. The proposed merger is also being investigated by the US competition authorities.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster earlier this year unveiled plans for an all-stock merger of equals, valuing the new group at about 2.5 billion dollars.