Live Nation agrees to scrap retaliatory practices under Justice Dept pressure

(Reuters) - Concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment Inc agreed to refrain from retaliating against venues that do not use its Ticketmaster service for every event in a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, the government said on Thursday.

Live Nation shares jumped 9% on Thursday.

A 2010 consent order allowing Ticketmaster to merge with Live Nation barred it from strong arming concert venues into using the dominant ticket service. Instead, it “repeatedly and over the course of several years” violated that agreement, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Reuters and others reported the expected legal action last week.

“To put a stop to this conduct and to remove any doubt about defendants’ obligations under the Final Judgment going forward, the Department and Live Nation have agreed to modify the Final Judgment to make clear that such conduct is prohibited,” the department said.

Live Nation acknowledged the settlement in a brief statement. “We believe this is the best outcome for our business, clients and shareholders as we turn our focus to 2020 initiatives,” the company said.

The 2010 agreement had been set to expire next year but will now be extended five and a half years, the Justice Department said.

Actions explicitly banned under the agreement include threatening to withhold future concerts if a venue does not use Ticketmaster, with an automatic $1 million penalty for each violation, the Justice Department said.

Reporting by Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru and Diane Bartz in Washington; Editing by Maju Samuel and Bill Berkrot