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Live Nation, Ticketmaster Receive Second U.K. Merger Clearance

Live Nation Entertainment Inc., the world’s biggest concert promoter following a merger with Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc., won U.K. antitrust approval of the deal following a second court-ordered review.

The Competition Commission signed off on the merger today in London, saying it “would not result in a substantial lessening of competition in the market for live music ticket retailing.” In February, a tribunal ordered the regulator to reopen the case after a competitor appealed.

Live Nation, based in Beverly Hills, California, won U.S. antitrust approval of the $899 million merger in January, after almost a year of review. The deal combined the world’s largest ticket retailer with the biggest promoter of concerts.

U.K. regulators first signed off on the deal in December after resolving competition concerns in the British market. The Competition Appeal Tribunal, which reviews U.K. antitrust decisions, ordered a review of the case in response to an appeal by CTS Eventim AG, which had signed an agreement with Live Nation to handle ticketing for U.K. concerts.

“We have reconfirmed our original decision that the merger will not have a significant effect on the success or otherwise of Eventim,” Competition Commission Deputy Chairman Christopher Clarke said in the statement.

Alexander Baer, a spokesman for Bremen, Germany-based Eventim, declined to comment.

As part of the U.S. approval process, Ticketmaster agreed to license software to its largest customer, sell its Paciolan unit and was blocked from retaliating against any concert site that signs a ticket-sales contract with a competitor for 10 years.

The combined company has a presence in almost every segment of live entertainment, including concert promotion, venue operation, ticket sales and artist management.

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