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MCD takeover delayed by regulator enquiry

UNITED STATES               -
World News
August 19, 2019

The government watchdog has decided to launch an “in-depth” phase 2 investigation into the deal.

The inquiry group must submit its findings by 8 January 2020.

Desmond, who is also non-executive chairman of LNE UK says he will work with the CMA to allay its concerns over about the impact on the market.

Following a phase 1 investigation, the CMA raised concerns the deal could result in a substantial lessening of competition in the concert promotion market in Northern Ireland.

“There are only a few rival music promoters in the region and they mainly rely on Ticketmaster to sell tickets to their events,” says the CMA. “As Live Nation already owns Ticketmaster, the CMA is concerned that if it were to acquire MCD, it may be able to stop rival promoters selling tickets through that platform post-merger.

“This could result in less competition in promotion services to artistes, leading to higher prices for concert-goers, as well as a smaller variety of live music events to choose from.”

Ireland’s Competition and Consumer Protection Commission gave the acquisition its approval in early July, after LNE agreed MCD and Ticketmaster Ireland would remain separate entities and LNE would not insist event organisers use Ticketmaster’s services in the Republic.

Another condition of its approval is that the relevant authorities must be informed in advance of any takeover by the company of a new music festival.

The proposed deal would see MCD owners Desmond and Downey retain half the shares in the company through LNG, which was formed as a 50/50 partnership between LNE and the couple in 2004, to takeover assets divested from Vince Power’s Mean Fiddler Music Group.

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