U.K. Government To Review Sale Of LN Theatrical Assets

LONDON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — It turns out that Ambassador Theatre Group's (ATG) £90 million acquisition of Live Nation's theatrical assets isn't quite a done deal.

According to a story in Stage, the U.K. Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is reviewing the deal in a move that will prevent the deal from fully closing until 2010.

As a part of their investigatory process, the OFT will consult with the theatrical industry and attempt to determine if the deal would lead to a "substantial lessening of competition." OST's review is not atypical with a sale of this size and while they can't put the kibosh entirely on the deal, they could refer the matter to the Competition Commission which does have more teeth.

Live Nation has already crossed swords with the Competition Commission as they seek regulatory approval for their pending merger with Ticketmaster.

ATG expressed confidence that the review was merely pro-forma as ATG only operates 40 venues around the U.K.

"There are three basic points about the OFT. One, in a transaction of this scale, we were anticipating talking to the OFT. Two, we’re very content to be in dialogue with the OFT, as we are at the moment. And three, we're very confident that no adverse competition issues will emerge from our discussions and meetings with the OFT." ATG CEO told The Stage. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers