A Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) investigation has raised competition concerns over Live Nation-Gaiety's proposed takeover of Irish promoter MCD Productions.
While the deal was cleared last week by Ireland's Competition And Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), "subject to a number of legally binding commitments", the UK's CMA is yet to follow suit, saying it is concerned that the deal could result in less competition in the music promotion industry in Northern Ireland.
If the businesses are unable to address the CMA’s concerns, the deal will be referred for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation to be carried out by a group of independent CMA panel members.
The watchdog has noted that rival music promoters in the region mainly rely on Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster to sell tickets to their events and has is concerned that 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 artists, leading to higher prices for concert goers, as well as a smaller variety of live music events to choose from.
The CMA added that it does not have competition concerns regarding other aspects of the companies’ businesses, such as music festivals and access to music venues.
We will work with the CMA to allay any concerns they have
Live Nation UK
Co-founded by Live Nation UK chairman Denis Desmond, MCD is one of Ireland's largest promoters, working with acts such as Westlife, Stevie Wonder and the Eagles.
Desmond said: “We will work with the CMA to allay any concerns they have.”