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Justice Department And 30 States Sue To Breakup LiveNation

Justice Department And 30 States Sue To Breakup LiveNation

As reported from UPI

May 23 (UPI) — The Department of Justice Thursday filed an antitrust lawsuit to break up Live Nation Entertainment.

The suit filed in the Southern District of New York alleges that Live Nation and its subsidiary, Ticketmaster hold a monopolist, illegal and anti-competitive dominance in the market for live event ticket sales and promotion.

“It is time to break it up,” Garland said. “We allege that to sustain this dominance LiveNation relies on unlawful, anticompetitive conduct. For fans in the United States this illegal conduct means higher prices.

The Justice Department is joined in the suit by attorneys general from 29 states and the District of Columbia.

“For too long, Live Nation and Ticketmaster have unfairly and illegally run the world of live events, abusing their dominance to overcharge fans, bully venues, and limit artists,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

Live Nation said in a statement that the Justice Department’s claim that it and Ticketmaster hold a monopoly is “absurd.”

“The DOJ’s complaint attempts to portray Live Nation and Ticketmaster as the cause of fan frustration with the live entertainment industry,” Live Nation vice president Dan Wall said. “It blames concert promoters and ticketing companies — neither of which control ticket prices — for high ticket prices. It ignores everything that is actually responsible for higher ticket prices, from increasing production costs to artist popularity, to 24/7 online ticket scalping that reveals the public’s willingness to pay far more than primary tickets cost.”

According to the DOJ lawsuit, Live Nation controls approximately 80% of ticketing for major venue concerts through Ticketmaster.

Garland said the result is fans paying higher prices for concerts while artists have fewer opportunities to play concerts and smaller competitors in the industry get squeezed.

He said with their monopoly power Live Nation and Ticketmaster can “impose a seemingly endless list of fees on fans due to its market dominance.”

Garland said Live Nation not only deployed anti-competitive practices but has also worked strategically and illegally to eliminate the threat of potential rivals emerging.

“Live Nation suffocates its competition using a variety of tactics,” Garland said. “We allege that Live Nation does not maintain its dominance by staying ahead of competition on the merits, it does so by unlawfully eliminating its competition.”

Garland said Live Nation also uses acquisitions of competing promotors to stave off competition. He said the company has repeatedly wielded its powers to keep rivals in concert promotion from expanding.

Garland said the Justice Department field this lawsuit on behalf of fans who should be able to go to concerts without a monopoly standing in their way.


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