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The Justice Department is widening its antitrust crackdown as it goes after Live Nation (LYV), filing a lawsuit Thursday that seeks a breakup of the entertainment giant.

US prosecutors and a group of states argue that Live Nation used its Ticketmaster ticketing monopoly to suppress competition. The lawsuit follows a two-year investigation into the company.

The suit comes 14 years after the DOJ approved a merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster is a dominant provider of ticket sales across the US that processes more than 80% of sales, while Live Nation owns and operates hundreds of high-profile venues and is a giant concert promoter.

The combined company has long faced criticism of what lawmakers and regulators consider to be exorbitant fees, problematic customer service, and unfair practices.

Live Nation’s stock was down roughly 5% as the suit was filed in the Southern District of New York.

“Live Nation relies on unlawful, anticompetitive conduct to exercise its monopolistic control over the live events industry in the United States at the cost of fans, artists, smaller promoters, and venue operators,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement, cited by multiple media outlets.

“The result is that fans pay more in fees, artists have fewer opportunities to play concerts, smaller promoters get squeezed out, and venues have fewer real choices for ticketing services,” Garland added. “It is time to break up Live Nation.”

Live Nation immediately refuted the lawsuit, calling the allegations “baseless.”

“The DOJ’s complaint attempts to portray Live Nation and Ticketmaster as the cause of fan frustration with the live entertainment industry,” said Dan Wall, Live Nation executive vice president for corporate and regulatory affairs.

“It blames concert promoters and ticketing companies — neither of which control ticket prices —for high ticket prices. It ignores everything that is actually responsible for higher ticket prices, from increasing production costs to artist popularity, to 24/7 online ticket scalping that reveals the public’s…


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