Yes, Ticketmaster did acquire Live Nation in a merger deal that was completed in 2010. Here are some key details about the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger:
The Merger Deal
In 2009, Ticketmaster and Live Nation announced plans to merge into a new company called Live Nation Entertainment. Under the terms of the merger agreement:
- Ticketmaster would merge into Live Nation, with Live Nation surviving as the parent company
- Live Nation shareholders would own approx. 50.01% of the combined company
- Ticketmaster shareholders would own approx. 49.99% of the combined company
- The combined company would retain the Live Nation name and brand
The deal valued Ticketmaster at around $2.5 billion and Live Nation at around $1.9 billion. The merger was completed in January 2010 after being reviewed and approved by regulators.
Reasons for the Merger
There were several key reasons why Ticketmaster and Live Nation wanted to merge:
- Gain scale and synergies – As separate companies, Ticketmaster and Live Nation competed in some areas. By merging, they could eliminate duplication and competition between their ticketing, artist management, concert promotion and venue management businesses.
- Cross-selling opportunities – Bringing together their complementary assets would allow for more cross-selling opportunities. Ticketmaster could sell Live Nation concert tickets through its ticketing platform, while Live Nation could direct artists it managed to use Ticketmaster for ticketing.
- Data and analytics – Combining their data and analytics on customers, artists, venues etc. was expected to create opportunities for better insights, targeting and monetization.
- Cost savings – Merging operations and support functions was expected to generate significant cost savings through economies of scale.
Essentially, the merger aimed to create a vertically integrated global live entertainment powerhouse with end-to-end capabilities in ticketing, concert promotion, artist management and venue operations.
Business Operations After the Merger
After the merger, Live Nation Entertainment continued operating the main businesses of both companies:
- Ticketing – Ticketmaster’s ticketing platform and technology continued to power most of Live Nation’s ticket sales.
- Concert promotion and venue management – Live Nation retained its concert promotion arm and its network of owned/operated venues.
- Artist management – Live Nation continued managing music artists and selling merchandise.
- Sponsorship and advertising – Both companies had assets and relationships here that were combined under Live Nation.
Some notable moves after the merger:
- In 2010, Live Nation signed a 12-year renewal of Ticketmaster’s ticketing agreement with concert promoter AEG.
- In 2013, Ticketmaster launched new technology focused on mobile ticketing and digital marketing.
- In 2014, Ticketmaster completed the acquisition of Front Gate Tickets.
Criticisms and Regulatory Concerns
The Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger faced criticism on anti-trust and anti-competitive grounds, including:
- Concerns about creating a near-monopoly in ticketing and live events.
- Locking in Ticketmaster as the dominant primary ticketer through long-term exclusive deals with venues.
- Ability to promote Live Nation artists over others.
- Control of consumer data from Ticketmaster’s 200+ million customers.
To ease regulatory concerns, Live Nation Entertainment made certain concessions:
- Agreed to license Ticketmaster’s software to AEG, the 2nd largest promoter, and divest Ticketmaster’s Paciolan ticketing unit.
- Promised to not force venues to use Ticketmaster or retaliate if they used another ticketer.
- Agreed not to link artist promotion deals with ticketing deals.
The merger ultimately went through but the company remains under consent decree restrictions from the Department of Justice until 2020.
Post-Merger Financial Performance
Here are some key financial metrics showing Live Nation Entertainment’s growth since the Ticketmaster merger (2010 vs. 2018):
This shows substantial growth in revenue, operating income and tickets sold in the 8 years following the merger.
Currently, Live Nation Entertainment is the world’s largest live entertainment company with operations in concert promotion, ticketing, sponsorship and artist management. Some key facts:
- It owns + leases/operates over 200 entertainment venues worldwide.
- It promotes over 40,000 live events annually.
- Ticketmaster sells 500+ million tickets per year across 29 countries.
- It has over 1,500 sponsored events annually.
- It has 400+ artists under management, including major acts like U2, Jay-Z, Madonna, etc.
In summary, the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger succeeded in creating a vertically integrated live events giant that has continued to grow its scale and dominance in the decade since. While anti-trust concerns remain, the combined company has delivered substantial operational growth and benefitted from major synergies between its ticketing, concert promotion, venue and artist management businesses.
The merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation in 2010 combined the two largest players in live entertainment ticketing, promotions and artist management into a single company called Live Nation Entertainment. By bringing together their complementary businesses, the deal aimed to generate substantial synergies and growth opportunities. Despite facing significant regulatory scrutiny over anti-competitive concerns, the merger ultimately went through with some concessions and Live Nation Entertainment has since become a live events powerhouse. In the 8 years post-merger, the combined company has delivered strong financial growth and further strengthened its position across ticketing, concert promotion, venues and artist management.