Per a report in the Wall Street Journal this past week, the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to take legal action against Live Nation Entertainment. The allegations include the concert promoter seeking to strong-arm concert venues into using its dominant Ticketmaster subsidiary.
The department believes the concert promoter is in violation of the merger settlement Live Nation and Ticketmaster reached with the government in 2010. It was originally the DoJ antitrust unit that allowed the companies to merge, on the condition they abide by a range of conditions to keep ticket prices in check, including agreeing to be barred from retaliating against venue owners who use a competing ticket service.
The government plans to file a decree enforcement action, per a source. As ticket prices rise and the settlement is set to expire next year, the DoJ now plans to extend the restrictions by several years and prohibit coercive conduct by Live Nation, the report added.
When the two companies merged in 2010, Live Nation became an entertainment giant that does everything from managing musicians, operating venues, promoting concerts and selling tickets.
In a filing to the U.S. government, Live Nation said it had worked on 35,000 events with more than 4,500 artists in 2018. It also said that Live Nation owns, operates, has exclusive booking rights for or an equity interest in 237 venues, including the House of Blues.