In February 2009, the world’s largest concert ticket agency, Ticketmaster, and the world’s largest concert promoter, Live Nation, announced that they intended to merge. The deal would have been worth around £550 million. This immediately sparked concerns that the new company would have such power in the market that ticket prices would rise. On 10 June 2009, the Office of Fair Trading, in line with the 2002 Enterprise Act, referred the proposed merger to the Competition Commission.
On 8 October 2009, the Competition Commission published its preliminary findings that “the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition (SLC) in the UK market for the primary retailing of tickets for live music events”. The following articles look at the findings and the competition issues. You will also find links below to the Competition Commission press release and the Provisional Findings Report.
Competition body opposes Ticketmaster and Live Nation merger Guardian (8/10/09)
Competition watchdog vetoes Ticketmaster deal Times Online (8/10/09)
The Competition Commission has ruled against the proposed Ticketmaster / Live Nation merger MusicWeek (8/10/09)
British Regulator Objects to Ticketmaster Merger New York Times (8/10/09)
See also the following documents from the Competition Commission:
Provisional findings report
- How would the proposed merger benefit the two companies concerned?
- How would it affect CTS (the second largest ticket agent in the world)?
- From the consumer’s perspective, what would be the potential advantages and disadvantages of the merger?
- What additional evidence would the Competition Commission require to make its final judgment?
The world experienced a large increase in merger activity from 2003 to 2007. The merger boom came to an end, however, in 2007/8 with the credit crunch and the ensuing recession. For example, the value of acqusitions of UK companies by overseas companies fell from £82.1 billion in 2007 to £52.6 billion in 2008, while the value of acquisitions of overseas companies by UK companies fell from £57.8 billion in 2007 to £29.7 billion in 2008 (see Mergers & Acquisitions data (National Statistics)). The decline continued in the first part of 2009.
Recent evidence, however, suggests that the beginnings of recovery in the world economy, a greater availability of credit and a substatial rise in share prices since March (see for example the FTSE 100 and Dow Jones indices) are leading to a new wave of mergers. Recent weeks have seen, amongst others, the takeover of Marvel Entertainment by Disney (see Disney is ‘Marvel’lous), the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Orange, and Kraft’s bid for Cadbury (see Cadbury: Chocolate All Change). So what has stimulated this new merger wave? How do mergers relate to the business cycle and to the stock market? Should they be welcomed? The following articles look at some recent mergers and at the issues they raise.
The return of the deal The Economist (10/9/09)
The revival of M&A is better than a poke in the eye Guardian (8/9/09)
Hovering Kraft The Economist (7/9/09)
Orange and T-Mobile to create UK’s largest mobile phone company Guardian (8/9/09)
Watchdog urged to investigate T-Mobile and Orange merger Guardian (8/9/09)
- Why has there been a recent rise in M&A activity? Discuss whether the revival in activity is likely to continue.
- Discuss whether an increase in M&A activity is ‘better than a poke in the eye’?
- To what extent will mobile phone users in the UK benefit or lose from a merger between Orange and T-Mobile?
- Will Cadbury’s consumers and workers benefit from a takeover by Kraft?