– Acting Attorney General Paula T.
Dow announced today that New Jersey has
signed onto a national settlement with Ticketmaster
Entertainment, Inc., and Live Nation that
places important restrictions on the merger
of the two companies, and will allow concert
venues and ticket-buyers to benefit from
increased competition in the business of
providing primary ticket services.
late January, the U.S. Justice Department
announced a settlement with Ticketmaster
and Live Nation that would require the merged
firm to license a copy of Ticketmaster’s
ticketing software, divest ticketing assets
and comply with certain restrictions on
its conduct. The settlement resolved an
antitrust complaint filed by the Justice
Department and 19 states, including New
Jersey, with the U.S. District Court for
the District of Columbia in Washington,
antitrust complaint challenged the original
Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger as a threat
to competition in the primary ticket services
business that would result in higher ticket
prices. Ticketmaster is the largest provider
of ticket services in the U.S. Live Nation
is the second-largest ticket service company,
and the largest concert promotion company
in the U.S.
In announcing New Jersey’s sign-on
to the settlement, Acting Attorney General
Dow said the agreement will increase competition
for primary ticketing services which, in
turn, should benefit New Jersey concert
venues and ticket buyers.
chief concern was that the merged firm would,
absent the settlement, have market power
it could use to harm New Jersey consumers
by eliminating the possibility of discounts,
reducing ticketing choices and increasing
ticket prices beyond the reach of many concert-goers,”
said Dow. “We believe that the licensure
and divestiture provisions of the settlement
will allow for strong competition to Ticketmaster,
and that the conduct restrictions will keep
the merged firm accountable.”
the settlement, which is subject to a public
comment period and approval by the court,
Ticketmaster must give a five year license
of its primary ticketing software to the
California-based Anschutz Entertainment
Group (AEG), the nation’s second-largest
concert promoter and operator of major concert
venues throughout the U.S. This will allow
AEG to market a competing ticketing system.
Within five years, AEG can purchase the
Ticketmaster software, elect to create its
own software, or obtain ticket services
from a ticketing company other than Ticketmaster.
addition, Ticketmaster must divest Paciolan
Inc., a ticket service business that it
currently owns, within 60 days to either
Comcast-Spectacor or another approved buyer.
Comcast-Spectacor has already signed a letter
of intent to purchase the assets of Paciolan.
Paciolan is used by hundreds of venues around
the nation to sell tickets to concerts and
other events. Venues that use Paciolan have
more flexibility to reduce the ticket service
fees that are charged to consumers who buy
divestiture of Ticketmaster’s Paciolan
holding -- coupled with AEG’s licensure
and option to purchase Ticketmaster’s
primary ticketing software -- will replace
the competitive pressure on Ticketmaster
that Live Nation was supposed to provide.
Under the settlement, the merged firm will
be prohibited from retaliating against any
concert venue owner that chooses to use
another company’s ticketing services,
or another company’s promotional services.
Additionally, clients who choose to leave
the merged firm and use another ticketing
service will be allowed to take a copy of
their ticketing data. The settlement further
requires that firewalls be put in place
to prevent the merged firm from using the
confidential competitor data of promoters
that it gains from its ticketing operations.
Attorney General Joshua Rabinowitz and Deputy
Attorney General Jah-Juin Ho, assigned to
the Division of Law’s Consumer Fraud
Prosecution Section, represented the State
in the Ticketmaster/Live Nation matter.