Zenith CC&P Current Awareness

CMA intends to refer Live Nation-MCD merger to Phase 2

15 July 2019

Prof. Suzanne Rab

Zenith's Prof. Suzanne Rab writes:

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced that it will refer the proposed acquisition by LN-Gaiety Holdings Limited (Live Nation) of MCD Productions Unlimited Company (MCD) for a Phase 2 investigation unless suitable undertakings are offered.

The two companies operate music events and festivals.  Live Nation manages artists, operates venues and provides ticketing services through its own company, Ticketmaster.  MCD is a promoter of live music events.

The CMA’s concerns are quite narrowly focused on the loss of competition in the music promotion sector in Northern Ireland, where few promoters rely mainly on Ticketmaster to sell tickets.  The CMA is concerned about the potential foreclosure of rival promoters if Live Nation were to acquire MCD.

The parties have five days from receipt of the CMA’s decision to offer up acceptable undertakings.  It may be that commitments by the merged entity to grant access to Ticketmaster’s platform on terms no less favourable that those offered to its own operations could be sufficient to allay the CMA’s concerns. However, competition authorities including the CMA are usually wary of accepting such behavioural commitments, at least on a first stage inquiry.

Current Awareness

By the CC&P team