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US DOJ to Sue Live Nation for Alleged Antitrust Violations

 |  April 16, 2024

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing to sue Live Nation Entertainment, the country’s top concert promoter and ticketing platform, for alleged antitrust violations.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the lawsuit, expected to be filed soon, accuses Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, of using its dominant market position to suppress competition in the live events sector. However, specific details of the impending legal action remain undisclosed.

Following the news, Live Nation’s shares (LYV) experienced a nearly 7% drop in premarket trading on Tuesday. Despite CNN’s attempts to seek comments from both Live Nation and the Department of Justice regarding the Journal’s report, no responses were received.

The anticipated lawsuit against Live Nation comes on the heels of past controversies surrounding Ticketmaster’s operations. In 2022, Ticketmaster faced widespread criticism and public outcry after a system malfunction during Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour left countless fans unable to purchase tickets, as per the Wall Street Journal.

Read more: Live Nation May Face Antitrust Lawsuit

The scrutiny intensified further when Live Nation executives found themselves under the congressional spotlight in January 2023. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle convened to address concerns over Live Nation’s alleged monopolistic practices, which critics argue are detrimental to competitors, artists and concertgoers alike.

At the congressional hearing, Joe Berchtold, Live Nation’s president and CFO, staunchly defended the company’s policies. Berchtold asserted that Ticketmaster does not dictate ticket prices or sales volumes, shifting that responsibility onto venue operators. He also refuted claims of Live Nation’s overwhelming influence, citing data indicating its control over a modest 5% of venues nationwide, as reported by the WSJ.

Nevertheless, industry rivals have persistently raised objections against Live Nation’s market dominance. Jack Groetzinger, CEO of SeatGeek, alleged that many venue owners feel compelled to utilize Ticketmaster’s services out of fear of losing Live Nation concerts, advocating for the breakup of the conglomerate.

The merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster in 2010 created what is now touted as the “largest live entertainment company in the world.” As the Department of Justice prepares to take legal action, the outcome of the impending lawsuit could significantly impact the landscape of the live events industry.

Source: WSJ