US Justice Department To Sue Ticketmaster Over Monopoly Business Practices.

Photo Pixabay. Stadium seats are often sold through online apps like Ticketmaster.
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The US Justice Department (DOJ) getting ready to  file a competition lawsuit in the next few days against entertainment giant Live Nation, owner of Ticketmaster as early as Thursday, multiple sources familiar with the matter confirmed to the BBC’s US partner, CBS News.

Ticketmaster is believed to control 80% of the primary ticket sales for entertainment events in the United States.

Prosecutors are expected to challenge the Ticketmaster parent company’s business practices, the sources said.

There have been many complaints before, for example allegations that Ticketmaster sells tickets to scalpers who can resell tickets at huge prices at the expense of fans of popular artists like Taylor Swift.

Whether ticket scalping is legal or not depends very much on local laws. Often it is illegal if taxes are not declared, but may be allowed if all the formalities are completed.

It may also vary from country to country. For example in England it is legal to ‘tout’ concert tickets, but illegal to sell on football tickets.

News of the antitrust action was first reported by the Washington Post.

The move comes after an investigation by the Justice Department’s antitrust division that spanned years. In 2022, CBS News confirmed the Justice Department had already been looking at the company and its Ticketmaster unit before the company’s disastrous mishandling of ticket sales for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour.

In many instances, when the DOJ sues over competition issues it seeks to force a firm to split off parts of its business or change how it operates.

The DOJ declined to comment when approached by the BBC. The BBC has also requested comment from Live Nation.

The federal government will be joined in its legal challenge by numerous state attorneys general, said the Washington Post, which first reported the story.

The lawsuit is expected to allege that the business – which puts on concerts, sells tickets and owns venues – has squeezed out competitors and weakened customer choice, which helped to push up prices.

The move comes after an investigation by DOJ’s anti-trust division that spanned years. In 2022, CBS News reported that the Justice Department was looking at the company and its Ticketmaster unit.

Live Nation Entertainment was created by the merger in 2010 of US-based events promoter Live Nation and ticket sales and distribution company Ticketmaster.

At the time, the DOJ approved the deal despite concerns that it would create a giant capable of dominating the live entertainment industry.

Live Nation Entertainment has faced growing criticism from fans, lawmakers, artists and competitors.

The company has been accused of having too much influence over live entertainment events in the US and around the world.

In November 2022, Ticketmaster angered Taylor Swift fans when its website crashed during a pre-sale period for the Eras Tour.

After news of the DOJ case was reported,  shares in Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster,  fell by more than 6% in after-hours trading in New York.

Sources. BBC, CBS News, Washington Post.
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