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Desmond Bid For UK Venues Hits A Speed Bump

LONDON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — According to The Sunday Times, of London, Irish music promoter Denis Desmond’s plans to gain control of the Academy Music Group in Britain, in conjunction with American entertainment giant Live Nation, has encountered a significant speed bump.

The Office of Fair Trading in Britain has referred the deal to the Competition Commission after it found that it would “substantially lessen competition” in sectors of London’s live music business.

The commission will now conduct a full investigation, and not report until next February.

Desmond and Live Nation, through a company called Hamsard, want to buy the 53% shareholding in Academy Music currently held by Royal London Private Equity. Academy owns a string of 10 music venues, including the Brixton Academy and Shepherds Bush Empire.

Rivals expressed “concerns” that Desmond, owner of Gaiety Investments, and Live Nation would control venues catering for crowds of 2,000 and 5,000.

Other concerns included a claimed conflict between Gaiety and Live Nation’s role as promoters and music-venue owners and that Live Nation’s deal with Ticketmaster would spread to Academy venues.

Hamsard said it would put the ticketing deal for Academy out to tender.