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US Justice Department to file antitrust suit against Live Nation, WSJ reports

Published 04/15/2024, 05:43 PM
Updated 04/15/2024, 07:10 PM
© Reuters. The logo and trading information for Live Nation Entertainment is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 3, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
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(Reuters) -The U.S. Department of Justice is expected to file an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE:LYV) as soon as next month, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Live Nation's subsidiary Ticketmaster was widely criticized for its handling of Taylor Swift's "Eras" tour in 2022, feeding demands that the two companies be investigated for harming consumers through their dominance of the live event market.

U.S. senators slammed Live Nation's lack of transparency, fee structure and inability to block bot purchases of tickets during a hearing in January 2023.

Joe Berchtold, Live Nation's president and chief financial officer, apologized to Swift fans at that hearing, but Ticketmaster has argued that bots used by scalpers were to blame for the debacle.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department lawsuit would claim that Live Nation has leveraged its commanding share of the live event ticketing market in a way that undermines competition.

Live Nation did not respond to Reuters' request for comment. A Department of Justice spokesperson declined to comment.

Shares of Live Nation dropped about 6% in extended trading.

© Reuters. The logo and trading information for Live Nation Entertainment is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 3, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Concert-goers were wary in 2010 when federal regulators declined to block Live Nation from merging with Ticketmaster under a settlement agreement.

In 2019, the Justice Department accused Live Nation of bullying ticket venues into using Ticketmaster and reached a revised agreement that extended restrictions on the company through 2025.

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