Live Nation announced that it had reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department in response to alleged violations of their consent decree. The new agreement will extend the validity of the decree through 2025.
The consent decree was initiated in 2010 after Live Nation acquired Ticketmaster. Not only has the company agreed to extend the decree, but it has also agreed to add clarifications to the decree that the government hopes will prevent the company from threatening or retaliating against venues who choose not to use Ticketmaster.
As part of the deal, sales representatives of Ticketmaster can no longer discuss content bundle deals with venues. They also cannot indicate that Ticketmaster venues will receive a preference for shows. While Live Nation will still be allowed to give preference to venues that work with Ticketmaster, they can no longer punish venues that choose not to renew their contracts with Ticketmaster.
According to Billboard, the settlement between the company and the government does not include a fine.
Along with the announcement, Live Nation issued the following statement:
“We have reached an agreement in principle with the Department of Justice to extend and clarify the consent decree. We believe this is the best outcome for our business, clients and shareholders as we turn our focus to 2020 initiatives.”
Makan Delrahim, who is the assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, also issued a statement. He said:
“When Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010, the Department of Justice and the federal court imposed conditions on the company in order to preserve and promote ticketing competition. Merging parties will be held to their promises and the Department will not tolerate transgressions that hurt the American consumer.”
The market’s reaction to the news was both swift and positive.
The company’s stock price rose more than 9%, to almost $70 per share after falling last week to around $64. What is unclear at the moment is how critics of Live Nation and its practices will react to the deal, especially those in the U.S. government.