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Britain’s OFT Refers Academy Music Buy-Out

LONDON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Britain’s Office of Fair Trading has referred to the Competition Commission Hamsard’s planned acquisition of U.K. venue operator Academy Music Holdings Ltd.

Hamsard, the investment vehicle jointly run by Live Nation U.K. and Irish music promotion company Gaiety Investments Ltd, had sought to buy a 51% stake in Academy Music.

The OFT’s referral, following the completion of its initial probe, means the proposed merger will be investigated more thoroughly before approval.

OFT CEO John Fingleton said in a statement that the regulator was concerned that such a purchase would negatively affect competition among indoor live music venues in London.

“On the basis of the evidence received, the OFT is concerned that other indoor venues would not represent sufficient competitive constraints on the merging parties post merger,” he said in the statement. “This applies in particular to venues of a certain size in London. Non-competitor third party concerns about this merger were coherent and consistent and supported the OFT’s analysis.”

The Competition Commission has a 24-week period in which is must undertake its investigation and report its findings. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers