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Archived — Competition Bureau requires divestitures by Ticketmaster-Live Nation to promote competition

OTTAWA, January 25, 2010 — The Competition Bureau announced today that it has reached an agreement with Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc. and Live Nation, Inc. that resolves competition concerns raised by their proposed merger. The agreement requires divestitures by Ticketmaster that will facilitate competition in the ticketing services market.

"This resolution is welcome news for Canadians," said Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition. "The agreement strengthens competition by providing rival companies with the tools they need to compete more effectively against Ticketmaster."

Ticketmaster is the largest provider of ticketing services in the world, while Live Nation is the largest promoter of live events globally. Prior to entering into the proposed merger, Live Nation had intended to enter the Canadian ticketing services market.

Following a detailed review, the Bureau concluded that the proposed merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation raised serious competition concerns, as it would prevent Live Nation from entering the Canadian marketplace as a direct competitor to Ticketmaster. It would also raise barriers that would deter other companies from entering the market to compete against the merged Ticketmaster-Live Nation.

Under the terms of a Consent Agreement filed with the Competition Tribunal, Ticketmaster must sell its subsidiary ticketing business, Paciolan, to either Comcast–Spectacor or another buyer approved by the Commissioner of Competition. It must also license its ticketing system for use by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the second largest promoter of live events in Canada and the United States, and Live Nation's principal competitor. Within five years, AEG can purchase the Ticketmaster ticketing software, create its own software, or partner with a ticketing company other than Ticketmaster.

Ticketmaster is also forbidden from retaliating against any venue owner who chooses to use another company's ticketing services, or another company's promotional services, and is subject to restrictions on anti‑competitive bundling. These measures will have a positive impact on competition in the Canadian market for ticketing services.

The Bureau worked cooperatively with the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division in this matter to coordinate parallel reviews of the proposed merger and to negotiate mutually acceptable resolutions to this matter.

Mergers in Canada are subject to review by the Competition Bureau under the Competition Act to ensure that they will not prevent or lessen competition substantially. The merger review process involves collecting information from, and conducting interviews with, a wide range of industry participants, including the parties, suppliers, competitors, industry associations, customers and industry experts.

A copy of the Consent Agreement will be available soon on the Competition Tribunal's Web site.

The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that contributes to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.

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