U.K. inquiry into LN/Ticketmaster delayed

Competition Commission report due in January

LONDON -- The inquiry by the Competition Commission in the U.K. into the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster has been extended by eight weeks, and will now report by Jan. 19.

It follows a provisional CC ruling on Oct. 8 that the merger will hinder competition in the market for live music ticket retailing, which could result in higher prices.

Following a consultation the final report was expected by Nov. 24, incorporating the Competition Commission's examination of the possible methods to address the loss of competition. There was concern that the merger would affect the entry of German company CTS Eventim into the U.K. market.

The Competition Commission on Friday announced that a further eight weeks is required for the ruling.

In a statement, it said it "has received a substantial number of responses to its provisional findings, which include new evidence that it must consider. Furthermore, the range of possible remedies is complex, and the (Commission) wishes to explore all the possible remedies with both the parties to the merger and third parties."

The statement added that, because the proposed merger is being investigated by competition authorities in other geographic markets, the CC also has to consult with relevant competition authorities in other jurisdictions to "seek consistency and effectiveness in its approach to remedies."

The Office of Fair Trading referred the proposed merger to the Competition Commission in June. The Commission is an independent public body, which investigates mergers, markets and the regulated industries.