BREAKING: Justice Department Approves Ticketmaster/Live Nation Merger

live-nation-ticketmaster.jpg BILLBOARD: The Department of Justice will announce today that it will approve the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger after a nearly a year of investigation and due diligence.

REUTERS: Ticketmaster sells more than 140 million tickets a year and also owns Front Line Management, the leading artist management firm founded by Ticketmaster Chief Executive Officer Irving Azoff. Its roster of 200-plus artists includes The Eagles and Miley Cyrus. Live Nation owns major venues like the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles and the House of Blues chain, and has long-term contracts with top artists like Madonna, U2, Jay-Z and Nickelback. Although a relatively small combination in U.S. business terms, the deal has attracted criticism from artists, fans and politicians since it was announced. Some view it as a test case for the Obama administration’s pledge to get tough on mergers. MORE

BUSINESS INSIDER: The news comes a few days after the UK Competition Commission officially cleared the merger. The CC, an independent public body which conducts in-depth inquiries into mergers, markets and the regulation of the major regulated industries, concluded in its final report that the merger will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in the market for live music ticket retailing or in any other market in the UK. MORE

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