Live Nation share price rises after Ticketmaster hearing

Live Nation investors were either unfazed or unmoved by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s political theatrics on Tuesday (Jan. 24), examining the reasons behind a catastrophic ticket sales to Taylor Swift‘s Eras tour last November held on the company’s Ticketmaster platform. While Live Nation president and chief financial officer Joe Berchtold was grilled by lawmakers on Ticketmaster’s technology and market power focusing on monopolistic behavior, Live Nation’s share price rose as much as 2.3% to $77.71 before closing at $76.67, up 1.4% on the day, about half of the ​​the average daily trading volume.

With the modest gain, Live Nation beat the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.3%), the S&P 500 (-0.1%), the Nasdaq composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-0.3%). It also outperformed two rivals, MSG Entertainment (+0.6%) and Germany’s CTS Eventim (-1.1%), which were not exposed to congressional questions.

However, congressional oversight was already priced into Live Nation’s stock price to some degree. Live Nation shares fell 7.8% to $66.21 on Nov. 18, 2022, after Sen. Amy Klobucharchairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, wrote a letter to Ticketmaster about her concerns regarding its “system failures, increasing fees and complaints about behavior that violates the consent decree” under which Ticketmaster and Live Nation operate.

The hearing, titled “That’s the Ticket: Promoting Competition and Protecting Consumers in Live Entertainment,” turned Live Nation and Ticketmaster into punching bags for senators who as a senator. Richard Blumenthal noted, were brought together “in one absolute, unified case.” The lawmakers’ pointed questions and obvious frustration on behalf of their constituents made it clear that Ticketmaster is one of the most loathed companies in the United States. A witness, Kathleen Bradishvp of legal advocacy at the American Antitrust Institute, called Live Nation and Ticketmaster “a very traditional monopoly” with a dominant market position that results in higher fees for consumers and less innovation.

Exactly what comes from the hearing is far less certain. While there may be some appetite among senators to undo the 2010 merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster or implement some other structural solutions, Sen. Klobuchar said the committee will wait for a report from the Justice Department before moving forward.

Some senators proposed non-legislative measures. Late. Joe Kennedy suggested that the person in charge of ticket sales should be fired. Late. Marsha Blackburn called the bot-related service outages “unbelievable” and told Berchtold that the company “should be able to get some good advice” to better deal with these kinds of problems.

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