Live Nation’s Acquisition of MCD ‘Does Not Raise Competition Concerns’

Live Nation's Acquisition of MCD 'Does Not Raise Competition Concerns'
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The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally approved Live Nation’s acquisition of MCD Productions, which is a leading Irish music promoter.

In August of last year, LN-Gaiety Holdings Limited, which is a joint venture between Live Nation and Gaiety Investments, announced that it intended to acquire MCD. The terms of the deal have never been disclosed.

Live Nation, at the time of the acquisition, called it “the logical next step” in its relationship with Denis Desmond and his wife Caroline Downey, who are the co-owners of both MCD and Gaiety Investments. Desmond has further been the chairman of Live Nation U.K. and Ireland since 2015.

Earlier this year, the agency initiated what it termed a “Phase 1” probe into the acquisition. They were reportedly concerned that the deal could adversely affect competition within the music promotion industry, in particularly in Northern Ireland.

In July, the agency released the results of this probe, stating that the acquisition “could result in less competition in promotion services to artists, leading to higher prices for concert goers, as well as a smaller variety of live music events to choose from.”

Because of this, the agency initiated a “Phase 2” probe, which just released its provisional results. These results were far better for Live Nation than those from “Phase 1.” The agency indicated that the acquisition “is not likely” to adversely affect competition. This was because “Live Nation would not be expected to have the incentive to harm rival music promoters by making it harder for them to sell tickets through Ticketmaster.”

The CMA will publish its final report on the matter on January 8 and those concerned with the preliminary findings can report these concerns to the agency up until November 28.

So far, Live Nation has decline to issue a comment on the agency’s findings.

In 2017, the CMA approved Live Nation’s acquisition of the Isle Of Wight Festival without requiring a second-phase probe.