Live Nation + Ticketmaster Getting Close; AGs Already Reacting

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Merger talks between Live Nation and Ticketmaster are getting close to a resolution, and an announcement could come as early as this morning.

Discussions continued over the Grammy weekend, perhaps appropriate timing for a continued power shift away from the majors.

But the merger – to be called Live Nation Entertainment or Live Nation Ticketing – is guaranteed to attract regulatory glare.  That probably means a complicated review across federal and state authorities, especially given the high-profile nature of both companies.  The tie-up is already garnering possible responses from various attorneys general, according to comments surfacing Friday.

The regulatory response – or, prospective response – is being led by Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal.  “There are various issues that have to be assessed,” Blumenthal told Bloomberg on Friday.  “The size of the resulting entity and its potential market dominance could be anti-competitive so far as it creates an entity that has excessive market share.”

The combined entity will blend a number of market-shapers, ones bearing names like Azoff, Rapino, and Diller.  But just recently, a different sort of boss emerged, protesting the potential merger and drawing more bad publicity.  Bruce Springsteen, fresh off of a Super Bowl performance and number-one album, decried the possible tie-up as bad news for fans and the music business.