DOJ to seek breakup of Live Nation-Ticketmaster, shares slide

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DOJ to seek breakup of Live Nation-Ticketmaster, shares slide Shares of Live Nation Entertainment Inc (NYSE: LYV ) sank in after hours trade on Wednesday on reports that the Department of Justice was planning to sue the firm over antitrust violations by Ticketmaster and to seek its separation from the firm.

The DOJ and a group of states were preparing the lawsuit, which could be filed in the Southern District of New York by as soon as Thursday, Bloomberg reported, citing people close to the matter.

Live Nation shares sank as much as 9.3% to $92 after the report, although they recovered some ground. 

The lawsuit is set to bring up multiple antitrust violations by Ticketmaster over its seemingly unrivaled hold on concert ticket sales, the report said. The lawsuit will seek remediation, with a break-up of Live Nation and Ticketmaster being a point of focus.

Live Nation- the biggest concert operator in the U.S.- merged with Ticket Master in 2010. The deal was approved by authorities on the grounds that Live Nation would not discriminate against concert venues that opted out of Ticketmaster. 

But multiple investigations since then found that Live Nation had repeatedly violated the agreement. The company has repeatedly drawn ire from performers and consumers over its seemingly monopolistic hold over ticket sales for major concerts in the country. 

This came to a boil in 2022 after Ticketmaster’s mishandling of "astronomical" demand for pop sensation Taylor Swift's "Eras" tour. Several fans of the performer had sued the company and Live Nation over allegations of deceptive practices, fraud and price fixing after the event.

President Joe Biden’s administration had also opened a new probe into the company in 2022. 

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