For better or worse, here comes Ticketmaster/Live Nation

February 10, 2009

Will it survive? That’s the main question looming over today’s official news that Live Nation will indeed buy Tickemaster Entertainment, a deal that has been much in the news this week.

Already, Sen. Charles Schumer, a member of the Judiciary Committee and Democrat from New York, has called for a federal probe into Ticketmaster’s relationship with resale subsidiary TicketsNow (a relationship that was roundly criticized recently when fans tried to buy Bruce Springsteen tickets) and said a merger with Live Nation “must be viewed skeptically).

As the New York Times recently pointed out, the deal will mark “an early test of the Obama administration’s views on concentrated corporate power, particularly in an area with potentially stark implications for consumers.”

“The combination of the two companies would place under one corporate umbrella dominant players in all sides of the live concert business: the sale of tickets, the representation of artists and the control of concert halls. Of particular issue to regulators, say lawyers with expertise in antitrust law, would be Live Nation’s recent entry into the ticket-selling business — essentially a challenge to Ticketmaster on its own turf,” the story noted.

Of course, even if the deal does survive, and even if it gets approval from antitrust regulators, the process could take some time. Months. A year. Maybe more. Such a time lapse could causes problems of its own — the economic landscape can change, strategy can shift, relationships can fray — and you end up, in some ways, far worse than when you began the whole darned thing.

Just ask XM and Sirius.

(Photo: Reuters)

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