Live Nation and Ticketmaster reportedly met last night, Feb. 8, with a merger to be announced as early as today.
The board meetings, held right after the Grammys, would announce the attempt to form Live Nation Entertainment, according to the Wall Street Journal. Initial reports had the name as Live Nation Ticketmaster. All but final negotiations were completed Feb. 8, with an announcement due as early as today or tomorrow, the WSJ reported.
Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino would retain his title in the new company, and Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff would be named executive chairman, retaining his control of Front Line Management, the paper said. Barry Diller, who runs Ticketmaster’s former parent company and is TM’s chairman, will be named nonexecutive chairman.
Sources told the WSJ the merger is expected to pass regulation with ease because the two companies are not competitors. Industry foes, however, fear the merger would exert undue influence – a venue, for instance, would feel pressure to renew its Ticketmaster contract lest it find Front Line artists or Live Nation tours diverting concerts from the facility.
One expert told the WSJ regulators could oppose the merger because of its “vertical” integration model, although that has not been the case of late. President Barack Obama’s new administration, though, may oppose the deal considering the public’s animosity toward both companies, the paper noted.