January 6, 2010
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Washington, DC--In response to recent reports suggesting the imminent approval of the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger, the public interest and live event industry members of the TicketDisaster.org coalition released the following statement to correct the record and give further reason why the merger should be blocked.
“This is just the latest attempt by Ticketmaster and Live Nation to convince the public and the Department of Justice to ‘just trust us.’ Anyone who has been ripped off by their outrageous fees and inferior service knows that Ticketmaster does not have consumers’ best interests in mind,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League, a founding member of the TicketDisaster.org coalition. “Thousands of consumers, fifty Members of Congress, and a broad and growing coalition of public interest groups and live event industry representatives oppose this merger as an attempt by one behemoth to snap up its only significant rival in the ticketing market and extend its market power into every level of the live event industry. DOJ should block this merger outright, and we have every hope that they will do so.”
“The reports that the merger will be approved, like the premature reports of Mark Twain’s death, are inaccurate and flawed, and are clearly timed to impact the shareholder vote on Friday,” said David Balto, former Federal Trade Commission policy director and counsel to the consumer and industry groups. “Ticketmaster may wish that the competitive problems from this merger can be solved through a piecemeal divestiture, but they are wrong. It is not unusual for merging firms to try to rescue a stranded deal with some type of last-minute remedy, but history has shown that consumers are better off when the antitrust cops reject those desperate pleas and protect the interests of a fair and competitive market.”
TicketDisaster.org is a coalition of public interest groups, ticket brokers, and independent venue owners and promoters united in opposition to the proposed Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger. Coalition members include the American Antitrust Institute, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, I.M.P. Productions Chairman Seth Hurwitz (representing independent venue owners), the National Association of Ticket Brokers, the National Consumers League and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG).