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Live Nation/Ticketmaster Merger Completes

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The long sought-after merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation has completed when both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Canadian Commissioner of Competition signed off on the deal after seeking concessions from the two companies.

Among the concessions included in the final settlement are requirements that Ticketmaster license their software to AEG Live and divest their self-ticketing/software subsidiary Paciolan to Comcast-Spectacor. The post-merger company would also be under a ten-year prohibition from retaliating against venues that opt to sign with a competing ticketing services provider.

"[Both companies] agreed they will not use their market power in ticketing to leverage anticompetitive deals at any venues or with any promoters." said Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney.

Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation, said, "This is a good and exciting day for the music business, and we are close to finalizing the creation of a new company that will seek to transform the way artists distribute their content and fans can access that content. The Department of Justice was thorough and aggressive in their analysis and their remedies, and we are confident that with this resolution the playing field is competitive and broader as a result of this transaction. We believe that this merger will now create a more diversified company with a great selling platform for artists and a stronger financial profile that will drive improved shareholder value over the long term."

First announced in February 2009, the $800 million dollar deal sees Ticketmaster shareholders receiving 1.384 shares of Live Nation common stock for each share of Ticketmaster. Live Nation ends up owning 49.99 percent of the combined company, while Ticketmaster would hold the remaining 50.01 percent.

The deal has also been approved in the U.K. by the regulatory body the Competition Commission, which confirmed its earlier provisional findings. Live Nation's erstwhile partner in an earlier bid to launch their own ticketing system, German firm CTS Eventim, had filed an appeal over the provisional findings last week, claiming that the Competition Commission hadn't given CTS a fair hearing and that the commission had failed to properly evaluate the effect of the merger on the market.

CTS had signed a ten-year agreement with Live Nation to provide software and ticketing services – Live Nation has indicated that it intends to honor its contractual obligations to CTS but the details on how they plan to approach this have been vague.

When markets closed, Live Nation's stock was up $1.35 (14.7%) and Ticketmaster's stock was up by $2.10 (15.79%) on the news. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers