Ticketmaster and Live Nation merger challenged

Refers the deal to the UK's Competitions Commission

A planned $700m (£428.5m) merger between ticket agency Ticketmaster and promoter Live Nation has been referred to the UK’s Competition Commission by the Office Of Fair Trading (OFT).

The two music corporations announced they were to merge in February, effectively creating one of the world’s most powerful music groups.

However, the OFT says it is concerned that the merger will result in live music competitors being forced out of the market.

“The OFT believes that there is a realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition resulting from the proposed merger,” a statement said.

A ruling by the Competition Commission is due by November 24. As well as owning music venues across the world, Live Nation is also a global promoter, with acts including the likes of U2 and Madonna.

Dave Newton, business development director at rival ticket agency WeGotTickets, said that the merger would see music fans losing out, reports BBC News.

“If you go wanted to see U2 for example, then you would have the same company which owned the rights to the artist, might well own the venue, is the promoter and is selling tickets on the primary and secondary markets as well,” he explained. “There’s not much room for competitive pricing in that chain, and I really can’t see the upside for fans.”

In February, the US justice department launched it’s own investigation into the merger.