House Rep Asks Justice Dept. To Block Live Nation/Ticketmaster Merger
July 9, 2009 at 4:44 PM (PT)
BILL PASCRELL as written a letter to the JUSTICE DEPT., requesting that it block the proposed merger between LIVE NATION and TICKETMASTER, reports WIRED.COM. The NEW JERSEY Democrat asserted that the merger would give the combined company an unfair competitive advantage in the music marketplace while driving ticket prices even higher than they already are.
"This merger violates both horizontal and vertical anti-trust principles, and will undoubtedly lead to higher ticket prices for the average fan," he wrote. "Under the proposed merger, the combined company would have control over nearly every aspect of the live music business: artist management, record sales, promotion, licensing, venue control, parking, ticket sales and resales, all the way down to the hot dogs and beer."
WIRED describes OBAMA’s antitrust head, CHRISTINE A. VARNEY as a "tougher customer" when it comes to vertical mergers that fuse companies from different parts of the same market. Ex-FTC Asst. Dir. MARC SCHILDKRAUT noted that VARNEY "was very interested in cases where she thought vertical mergers could have an anti-competitive effect" when she worked at the FTC during the ’90s.
PASCRELL also believes the OBAMA Administration will be more sympathetic to his concerns. "Under the BUSH Administration, the JUSTICE DEPT.’s enforcement of our country’s antitrust laws was almost nonexistent," he said. "The Antitrust Divison brought zero cases against dominant firms for violating our country’s anti-monopoly law, to the detriment of consumers and small businesses everywhere. Thankfully, the OBAMA Administration has announced that they plan to reverse this policy and once again vigorously enforce our country’s antitrust laws."