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Live Nation-Ticketmaster Merge Gets Conditional OK

Department of Justice asks for concessions in $2.5B deal; company gets new name

The U.S. Department of Justice and its equivalent in Canada have reached agreements with Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, and Ticketmaster, the world’s largest ticket seller, clearing the way for a blockbuster merger of the companies.

The proposed deal — worth about $2.5 billion — was announced last February.

Once the merged is officially closed, the combined company will be called Live Nation Entertainment — a combination that would have control of nearly all aspects of the music industry pipeline: artist and venue management, ticket and merchandise sales and more.

Live Nation operates 75 U.S. music venues. In 2008, Ticketmaster sold more than 141 million tickets — $8.9 billion worth.

Under the terms of the proposed judgment — filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. — the companies have agreed to sell Ticketmaster’s self-ticketing subsidiary, Paciolan, to Comcast-Spectacor, and to license its hosting technology to AEG Live –- a pair of concessions designed to keep the ticketing and promotions landscape competitive.

According to Reuters, the merged company would also be “barred from retaliating against any venue owner that uses another company’s ticketing or promotional services.”

Shares in both companies jumped more than 16 percent on news of the conditional approval during Monday trading.

Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation, called it “an exciting day for the music business.”

The new company, he said, “will seek to transform the way artists distribute their content and fans can access that content.”

Rapino will serve as the CEO of the merged company. Irving Azoff will become executive chairman of Live Nation Entertainment; Barry Diller will serve as chairman of the board.