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Competition Commision Signs Off On AEG's Wembley Deal

LONDON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — AEG's bid to manage London's Wembley Arena has been provisionally approved by the Competition Commission, replacing the venue's previous managers, Live Nation.

AEG had originally signed on with Wembley owner Quintain Estates & Development to manage the arena earlier this year; however the Office of Fair Trade raised concerns about AEG's dominance of the London market leading to higher ticket prices. Approval of the deal leaves AEG operating the two largest indoor venues in London, the O2 Arena and Wembley arena, as well as the Hammersmith Apollo, and IndigO2. AEG has also recently been awarded a five-year contract to deliver summer concerts at Hyde Park.

After review, the Competition Commission reported that they found the anti-competitive effects of the Wembley deal, such as higher prices and lower quality of service of the Wembley deal, presented little risk to consumers.

In the report's executive summary, the committee reported: "AEG’s opportunity to increase venue prices would be limited given that other factors are more important and that any negotiation on price takes place after the venue has been confirmed. Where we have seen evidence of promoters switching venues, the decision was made on non-price reasons such as tickets not selling fast enough at the first choice venue.

"We also considered whether AEG would or would not have an incentive to reduce the quality of the venue after the merger. We provisionally found that doing so could damage AEG both in financial terms and also in relation to its reputation at its other venues." – Staff Writers