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Justice Dept. to Hit Concert Promoter Live Nation With Antitrust Lawsuit

The Washington Post

April 16, 2024

The Justice Department plans to file an antitrust lawsuit against concert promoter Live Nation, people familiar with the investigation confirmed Tuesday.

The specific allegations remain unclear, and the timing of a lawsuit is uncertain. The Justice Department declined to comment.

But performers, politicians, scholars, rival promoters and other ticket sellers have argued that Live Nation wields far too much power in the live entertainment industry, with the ability to withhold the best shows from venues that do not use the company’s Ticketmaster service.

. . .

The federal government could file charges narrowly related to the Ticketmaster merger agreement or bring a bigger case related to Live Nation’s perceived market dominance, said Daniel McCuaig, a partner at Cohen Milstein’s antitrust practice and a former trial lawyer with the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

Depending on what charges are filed, the government could seek to unwind the Ticketmaster merger, McCuaig said. He noted that the Justice Department has sought such a remedy in its case against Google and digital ad business.

“This DOJ has been more aggressive than previous administration DOJs about looking at old mergers and deciding that they may have made a mistake in letting something through previously that could now be unwound with a successful antitrust suit,” McCuaig said.

“It looks like big-game hunting on a monopolization theory,” he added. “And monopolization cases are cases that this administration has not shied away from bringing.”

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