UK May Block Ticketmaster-Live Nation Merger, Save Universe

While U.S. authorities are still trying to figure out whether letting the Godzilla and Megalon of ticket-selling join forces is a good thing, the U.K. has come to the rescue of concertgoers worldwide. The Competition Commission declared that the merger would “will limit the development of competition in the market for live music ticket retailing.”

The Competition Commission, which regulates antitrust matters in the U.K., warned that the merger would likely block the ability of German ticketer CTS — which has a pending deal with Live Nation — from competing in the U.K., said the commission’s deputy chairman, Christopher Clarke.

As the second-largest ticket agent in the world after Ticketmaster, with considerable experience and expertise in other countries, CTS’s entry would have increased competition in ticket retailing to the benefit of customers – whether fans, promoters or venue owners.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation responded with a statement that, “both our companies are committed to this merger and look forward to addressing any and all issues that the commission deems necessary.”

U.S. officials are expected to weigh in next month. If the merger is blocked, nobody expects Ticketmaster and Live Nation to suddenly stop charging crazy fees or partnering with resellers. So, yeah, the universe hasn’t really been saved. But competition does tend to help limit some excesses, and avoid, as Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl said this summer, “one company with a stranglehold on all segments of the concert business.”

UPDATE: UK Regulator Against Ticketmaster, Live Nation Merger [WSJ.com]
Previously: Mergers: Ticketmaster And Live Nation Agree To Merge