December 22, 2009
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Washington, DC–In response to the approval of the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger by British regulators, the public interest and live event industry members of the TicketDisaster.org coalition today urged the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to consider the profound differences between Ticketmaster’s and Live Nation’s dominance of the U.S. live event market and their market position in Great Britain.
“No matter what the decision is on the other side of the pond, it’s clear in the U.S. market that this merger will restrict choice and competition, leaving consumers with no option but to pay higher prices,” said David Balto, former Federal Trade Commission policy director and counsel to the consumer and industry groups. “The Department of Justice now has an even greater responsibility to side with competition and block this merger.”
“Today’s stunning reversal by the Competition Commission of their previous position opposing the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger represents, we believe, a flawed analysis of an inherently anti-consumer and anti-competitive merger,” said National Consumers League Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “Live Nation’s and Ticketmaster’s market positions in Britain differ significantly from their already monopolistic positions in the U.S. We urge DOJ regulators to stand firm and conduct a vigorous, independent analysis of the impact on American consumers of this deal.”
NCL, along with four other consumers and antitrust groups, independent ticket brokers and venue owners and five Members of Congress last week announced the founding of the TicketDisaster.org coalition to help raise the voice of the millions of consumers and live event industry players who oppose the merger.
“Live Nation’s statement today says that they have ‘listened to our fans, artists, and other parties,’” said Greenberg. “Where have they been listening? In a sound-proof box? Two Congressional hearings, a letter from fifty Members of Congress and the outrage of untold numbers of consumers should make the message clear – Americans do not want this merger.”
TicketDisaster.org is a coalition of public interest groups, ticket brokers, and independent venue owners and promoters united in opposition to the proposed Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger. Coalition members include the American Antitrust Institute, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, I.M.P. Productions Chairman Seth Hurwitz (representing independent venue owners), the National Association of Ticket Brokers, the National Consumers League and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG).