Does anyone like Ticketmaster or Live Nation? Will anyone shed a tear if the government steps in a prevents a merger? Jon Fine argues in BusinessWeek that opposing the merger is a political lay-up for the Obama administration.
If there is a political downside to doing so, neither I nor anyone I talked to can discern it. Here you have not one but two companies that are despised, be it for high ticketing fees or tight control of what was once an exquisitely local business, by a large portion of their key customers. (That group includes a sizable contingent of youngish music fans who likely skew Obama-ward in their politics, to boot.) How despised are these companies? One is commonly referred to as TicketBastard, as a simple Web search shows. Historically, this is possibly the one that was hated less. Live Nation changed its name from Clear Channel Entertainment in 2005, when that name was provoking frothing at the mouth. (It’s telling that the combined entity would be called Live Nation Entertainment; representatives declined to make Michael Rapino, the CEO of Live Nation who would maintain that role in the proposed new company, available for comment.)
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