Ticketmaster Could Face DOJ Antitrust Lawsuit

Stay Nation and its subsidiary Ticketmaster might face an antitrust lawsuit from the Division of Justice as early as this fall, Politico studies.

In keeping with three individuals acquainted with the matter, the lawsuit would declare that Ticketmaster is abusing its energy within the leisure business by squashing different ticketing competitors. Based mostly on previous feedback from antitrust head Jonathan Kanter, if the lawsuit is profitable, Stay Nation and Ticketmaster could also be compelled to separate strains of enterprise.

Kanter has made clear his desire to litigate antitrust violators somewhat than settle, and would additionally somewhat impart structural cures — like breaking apart the leisure giants — somewhat than behavioral fixes, like asking the businesses to vow to not interact in sure behaviors.

In an announcement to Politico, Stay Nation govt VP for company and regulatory affairs Dan Wall mentioned, “We’re in common contact with the DOJ and so they haven’t informed us they suppose we’re doing something unlawful or requested us to handle any considerations. It will be extremely irregular for the DOJ to file with out that discover and plenty of dialogue afterwards. Nevertheless, in the event that they do file we’re ready to defend ourselves.”

The attainable antitrust swimsuit would observe years of federal oversight on Stay Nation and Ticketmaster, which started when the businesses merged in 2010. Up to now, each companies agreed to dump some ticketing property, license their ticketing software program, and never drive venues to make use of Ticketmaster — although Stay Nation has been accused of violating the latter clause. In a 2019 settlement, the corporate agreed to increase courtroom oversight by way of an impartial compliance monitor by means of 2025.

In keeping with Politco’s sources, the lawsuit can be extra targeted on Ticketmaster’s actions than Stay Nation’s. The Justice Division has reportedly requested the corporate about its resale insurance policies, its offers with venues to solely use Ticketmaster, and its contracts with artists.

Whether or not or not the DOJ really hits Ticketmaster with a lawsuit this fall might come right down to assets, the report says. Antitrust trials towards Google and JetBlue/Spirit Airways are already slated for September and October, whereas investigations into the conduct of Apple and Visa, in addition to an Adobe/Figma merger, are ongoing.

This elevated authorities strain follows an extended line of accelerating frustration at Ticketmaster. Final yr, the corporate botched its ticket sale to Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” so badly that a number of followers initiated lawsuit, whereas Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced a congressional antitrust listening to. One other class-action case targeted on inflated costs to Drake’s present tour with 21 Savage.