Ticketmaster client may end contract if merger OKed

NEW YORK Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:42pm EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Live concert promoter AEG may end its ticketing relationship with Ticketmaster Entertainment TKTM.O if the world's largest ticketing agency merges with Live Nation Inc (LYV.N), according to a regulatory filing on Thursday.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation, a rival of Anschutz Entertainment Group Inc (AEG), said they plan to merge on February 10. The news has sparked antitrust controversy among legislators, some artists and music industry insiders.

Ticketmaster Chief Executive Irving Azoff and Live Nation Chief Michael Rapino this week faced a U.S. congressional antitrust hearing to examine the merger which would create a global live music giant.

Ticketmaster said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission it received a letter on February 6 from privately held AEG, the world's second largest concert promoter, apparently in response to news reports speculating about the combination.

The letter was said to advise Ticketmaster of AEG's belief that any transaction involving Ticketmaster and Live Nation would permit AEG, at its option, to terminate the ticketing agreement, according to the regulatory filing.

Ticketmaster said revenues from AEG, a rival to Live Nation, accounted for less than 10 percent of Ticketmaster's consolidated revenues for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008.

AEG owns major concert venues, including the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the Nokia Theater in New York.

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; editing by Richard Chang)

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