A proposed merger that would create a powerhouse in the music business is facing stiff resistance from the Justice Department, and will require major concessions, according to several people familiar with the situation.
Negotiations are continuing between Justice Department officials and executives of Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. and Live Nation Inc., and no final decision has been reached. But department officials have let it be known that there are elements of the proposed merger that could prompt them to sue to block it, said one person familiar with the situation.
The ticketing giant and the world's largest concert promoter "now sense they need to make some serious concessions," and are worried the Justice Department will seek to block the deal, this person said.
The Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger is the first high-profile combination to come up for antitrust review during the Obama administration, and it is attracting attention far beyond the confines of the music business. The deal is widely regarded as a bellwether of the department's attitude toward such potential deals as Comcast Corp.'s proposal to take a majority stake in General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal.
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