UK Regulators Push LNTM Merger Decision Into 2010

LONDON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Britain's Competition Commission moved on Thursday to extend their examination of the proposed merger between Live Nation an Ticketmaster.

Although the Commission had released preliminary findings on October 8th, the final report had been set for November 24th. The new deadline for the report has been pushed back eight weeks until January 19, 2010.

The preliminary findings had cast a pall over the prospects of the merger with the commission's Oct. 8 report stated that the merger would likely lead to "a substantial lessening of competition in the market for the primary retailing of tickets for live music events." Since then, the commission stated that it has received a "substantial" number of responses to the findings and needed the extension in order to evaluate them.

The merger is also under review in the United States by the Department of Justice and it appears likely that there are consultations afoot between the the two regulatory bodies, as evidenced by a statement by Competition Comission Group Chairman Chris Clark:

"The range of possible remedies is complex, and the Group wishes to explore all the possible remedies with both the parties to the merger and third parties. As the proposed merger is being investigated by competition authorities in other geographic markets, the CC’s guidance also requires the Group to consult with relevant competition authorities in other jurisdictions to seek consistency and effectiveness in its approach to remedies."

Both Live Nation and Ticketmaster had hoped to seal the merger before the end of 2009, but the CC's decision will almost definitely push that back to the beginning of 2010 at the earliest. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers