Live Nation, which last month announced plans to merge with Ticketmaster Entertainment, has reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $337.5 million or $4.33 per share, compared to a loss of $18.4 million or 25 center per share, during the same period last year.

The Los Angeles-based live entertainment company attributed the net loss to a goodwill impairment charge related to decreased market capitalization during the period. Live Nation recorded a goodwill impairment charge of $269.9 million after the company's 70% drop in market capitalization over the last year meant its assets are now overvalued on a fair market value accounting basis.

Fourth-quarter revenues at Live Nation declined 0.7% to $916 from $922.4 a year ago. Revenues in the company’s North American Music division dropped 4.3% to $452.1 million, while its international division fell 35.7% to $195.8 million.

Live Nation, which produces events in 57 countries, promoted more than 7,000 events during the fourth-quarter, up 33% from last year, according to Live Nation president/CEO Michael Rapino. Last year, the company produced 22,000 events that were attended by more than 52 million people, an increase of 32% in events and 12% in attendance compared to 2007, he said.

Shifting gears to its proposed merger with Ticketmaster Entertainment, Rapino told investors today (March 2) during a conference call that the new entity, Live Nation Entertainment, would create “a more diversified company with a stronger financial profile” through the combination of ticketing, marketing, data centers and backroom.

“Our management team will be working hard to close the merger, and when completed we believe will be able to quickly consolidate these complimentary businesses,” he said. “We absolutely expect to get this approved and expect it to be a thorough review by the [Department of Justice].”

On Feb. 24, Rapino and Ticketmaster Entertainment CEO Irving Azofft were grilled in Washington, D.C., by the U.S. Senate Judiciary's antitrust subcommittee and independent concert promoters, who questioned the motives and potential outcome of the proposed merger of the two live entertainment giants.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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