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Critics Voice Opposition To Live Nation/Ticketmaster Merger

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Live Nation is facing regulatory scrutiny over their proposed merger with former rival Ticketmaster by the Department of Justice and many voices have been raised in opposition of the deal.

Many of the complaints come from Live Nation's competitors, who have expressed concerns that the merger between the promoter and the world's largest ticket seller could provide insider access to key confidential information on competitors that would give Live Nation and unfair advantage.

"Your ticket sales include your entire list of customers — names, addresses, zip codes — and how many tickets you sold to a certain band, and how many tickets you sold," Dante Ferando, owner of the Black Cat rock bar in Washington told Reuters "Suddenly Live Nation has access to your ticket information. That's not the kind of stuff that you want to hand to your competition on a silver platter."

I.M.P.'s Seth Hurwitz agreed. "They have never divulged their ticket accounts to anyone. That's just bad," he told Reuters.

Some competitors have even considered taking their business to a different company besides Ticketmaster, but Ticketmaster has been the dominant player in the field for so long, there are few options.

Opposition to the merger isn't limited to competitors and some legislators have come out against the deal, including New York Senator Charles Schumer.

"The merged company would have control of every step of the process, from fans to artists," Schumer told reporters. "This would have a tremendous downside for consumers."

The Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee will hold hearings on the merger next Tuesday.

"There is overlap in ticketing, there is overlap in venue- control and there is overlap in talent management," Robert Doyle, a Washington antitrust attorney and former Federal Trade Commission member told Bloomberg.

Live Nation remains upbeat about the deal and has actively defended the agreement.

"The reality is that too many tickets go unsold, which hurts the entire industry," a live Nation spokesman told Reuters "Our merger will help fill venues and directly benefit not only these promoters, but also fans, artists and local communities." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers