Nine months after Ticketmaster announced its proposed merger with Live Nation, the Justice Department’s antitrust investigation seems to be entering the ninth inning, and the bases are loaded. Numerous consumer groups and 50 members of Congress have written in opposition to the merger. Britain’s antitrust cops have also come out against it. And it’s becoming clear to the public that the merger will harm consumers and competition.
The reasons for the deal are quite transparent. Ticketmaster faced its first significant competitive threat when Live Nation announced earlier this year that it was entering the primary ticketing market. Most monopolists would like to quash any new threats to their dominance. But if they can’t quash them, they might choose to buy them out—which is precisely why this merger is illegal.
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