In response to anti-trust complaints filed back in April 2018, namely from AEG, The Department of Justice (DoJ) is preparing to take legal action against Live Nation Entertainment Inc. Initially reported by The Wall Street Journal, the response with shareholders has been dire.
Live Nation stock fell 7.3 percent on Friday, December 13, once the news went public of pending DoJ action. Consequently, shares closed at $64.34, down $5.09 on the day. The dip is no chump change, either, resulting in a $1 billion drop off from Live Nation’s market cap of $13.8 billion.
The allegations laid forth against the company are that Live Nation sought to strong-arm concert venues into using its Ticketmaster subsidiary. It’s a direct violation of the concert promoter’s 2010 merger agreement with Ticketmaster which details that the companies would not retaliate against venues that chose another ticketing service.
While the complaints were initially launched in April 2018, Live Nation didn’t come under fire until August of this year in a Congressional oversight hearing. Assistant Attorney General of DOJ’s antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, reported that his division was investigating Live Nation for alleged anti-competitive practices. Still, even with the $1 billion loss, Live Nation shares have increased 30.6% this year.