Settlement to put limits on Ticketmaster, Live Nation merger

A court settlement designed to protect concertgoers against monopoly ticket prices has been filed in federal court, detailing measures to create new ticketing outlets that would compete with a proposed merger of ticket giants Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

The merger, initially proposed in February 2009, would have created a virtual monopoly on ticket sales for live music concerts in a state with many of the nation's top venues, according to California Attorney General Jerry Brown, who joined other state and federal justice representatives in the settlement.

A list of the country's top 500 venues measured by revenue includes Arco Arena and Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Wheatland.

"Without serious competition, concertgoers will inevitably pay more for concert tickets," Brown said in a written statement. "With this merger agreement, we're taking an important step to ensure a more competitive market for concert-ticket sales."

Under the settlement, West Hollywood-based Ticketmaster Entertainment will give up one of its ticket-selling divisions, including software and contracts with venues, said Paula Lauren Gibson, the California deputy attorney general assigned to the case.

That spinoff will become a separate company, which Comcast has submitted a bid to operate, Gibson said.

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