Justice Department Will Move to Significantly Modify and Extend Consent Decree with Live Nation/Ticketmaster
Justice Department and Live Nation Agree to a Number of Significant Changes, To Extend by Five and Half Years the 2010 Live Nation/Ticketmaster Final Judgment; Live Nation to Pay Costs and Fees to Taxpayers for Enforcement
The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division will file a petition asking the court to clarify and extend by five and a half years the Final Judgment entered by the Court in United States v. Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc., et al., Case No. 1:10-cv-00139-RMC (July 30, 2010). This is the most significant enforcement action of an existing antitrust decree by the Department in 20 years.
The 2010 Final Judgment permitted Live Nation to merge with Ticketmaster but prohibited the company from retaliating against concert venues for using another ticketing company, threatening concert venues, or undertaking other specified actions against concert venues for ten years. Despite the prohibitions in the Final Judgment, Live Nation repeatedly and over the course of several years engaged in conduct that, in the Department’s view, violated the Final Judgment. To put a stop to this conduct and to remove any doubt about defendants’ obligations under the Final Judgment going forward, the Department and Live Nation have agreed to modify the Final Judgment to make clear that such conduct is prohibited. In addition, Live Nation has agreed to extend the term of the Final Judgment by five and a half years, which will allow concert venues and American consumers to get the benefit of the relief the Department bargained for in the original settlement. The proposed modifications to the Final Judgment will also help deter additional violations and allow for easier detection and enforcement if future violations occur.
“When Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010, the Department of Justice and the federal court imposed conditions on the company in order to preserve and promote ticketing competition.” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Today’s enforcement action including the addition of language on retaliation and conditioning will ensure that American consumers get the benefit of the bargain that the United States and Live Nation agreed to in 2010. Merging parties will be held to their promises and the Department will not tolerate transgressions that hurt the American consumer.”
The Department today filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to reopen the docket in the underlying action, a necessary step towards filing the petition to clarify and extend the Final Judgment. The Department will file that petition once leave is granted by the court.
The clarifications to the Final Judgment the parties will seek include provisions that:
- Live Nation may not threaten to withhold concerts from a venue if the venue chooses a ticketer other than Ticketmaster;
- A threat by Live Nation to withhold any concerts because a venue chooses another ticketer is a violation of the Final Judgment;
- Withholding any concerts in response to a venue choosing a ticketer other than Ticketmaster is a violation by Live Nation of the Final Judgment;
- The Antitrust Division will appoint an independent monitor to investigate and report on Live Nation’s compliance with the Final Judgment;
- Live Nation will appoint an internal antitrust compliance officer and conduct regular internal training to ensure its employees fully comply with the Final Judgment;
- Live Nation will provide notice to current or potential venue customers of its ticketing services of the clarified and extended Final Judgment; and
- Live Nation is subject to an automatic penalty of $1,000,000 for each violation of the Final Judgment.
- Live Nation will pay costs and fees for the Department’s investigation and enforcement.
Along with the provisions described above, the proposed modifications to the Final Judgment, if approved by the court, include additional safeguards to ensure Live Nation does not punish venues that want to work with competing ticketers, and importantly, extends the term of the Final Judgment for five and half years.
Live Nation Entertainment Inc. is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Beverly Hills, California. It claims to be the largest live entertainment company in the world, active in three principal segments: concert promotion, ticketing services, and sponsorship & advertising. In 2018, Live Nation’s revenues were approximately $10.8 billion.
Ticketmaster is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Live Nation following their merger in 2010. It claims to be the world’s leading live entertainment ticketing sales and entertainment company. In 2018, Ticketmaster’s revenues were approximately $1.5 billion.