Groups call Ticketmaster merger a ‘Ticket Disaster’

DOJ asked to block proposed merger

Contact: Linda Sherry, 202-544-3088

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Joined by Members of Congress, leading public interest advocates and live event industry representatives today called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to live up to its antitrust mission and block the proposed Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger. At a press conference on Capitol Hill, the group called on concerned consumers nationwide to go to the coalition’s website——and make their voices heard to policymakers in Washington. Click here to send a letter to your lawmaker about the Ticketmaster merger. Members in attendance at the event included Representative Michael Capuano (D-MA), Representative Joseph Courtney (D-CT), Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN), Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT). Joining the members in the announcement of the new coalition was the American Antitrust Institute, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, I.M.P. Productions Chairman Seth Hurwitz (representing independent venue owners), the National Association of Ticket Brokers, the National Consumers League and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG). Linda Sherry of Consumer Action notes, "It would be highly improbable, if not outright impossible, that a competitor could replicate or compete with Ticketmaster-Live Nation’s combined stranglehold on ticketing and promotion. No single company should have this much control." Published media reports have indicated that the DOJ is in the final phases of its review of the merger, which the groups called a “disaster in the making for any consumer that wants affordable, convenient access to live events.” “It continues to be my view that this merger represents the greatest and most urgent threat to music fans across this country, and, if approved, will have far reaching and long lasting negative consequences for concert goers and nearly everyone involved in the live music business,” said Pascrell, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee who led 50 Congress members to oppose the pending merger in July with a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice. “This is little doubt that the result of this merger will be higher ticket prices and fees for fans, and chilling effects on consumers, business managers, artists, music fans, and promoters, in every state throughout this country. The American people agree: the Department of Justice must swiftly and resoundingly reject this hostile takeover of the concert industry. No concessions from Ticketmaster and Live Nation will cure this merger’s inherent anti competitive nature.” “This is a textbook horizontal and vertical monopoly that is being proposed here,” said Representative Courtney. “Either we have competition in this country or we don’t,” stated Representative Capuano. Added Representative Welch, “Why should [consumers] be the source of overreaching profit by the monopoly power?” Tom Patania, immediate past president of the National Association of Ticket Brokers and a constituent in Rep. Pascrell’s district, said “Ticketmaster’s game plan is if you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em out, and we can’t turn a blind eye to it. In just the last few years Ticketmaster’s been on a buying spree, spending more than $400 million to acquire their competitors. The question for DOJ is who can compete against that?” Rep. Pascrell has introduced a bill in the House (HR 2669) which would direct the Federal Trade Commission to prescribe rules to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive acts and practices in connection with ticket sales. Click here to read the bill.



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