Live Nation shares closed down 7.3% on Dec. 13 following news of a pending Department of Justice legal action over allegations the company has unfairly used its concert promotion business to pressure venues to use Ticketmaster, a wholly owned subsidiary of Live Nation. Shares closed at $64.34, down $5.09 on the day. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Numerous tremors preceded the DOJ’s decision to charge Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, for allegedly using its concert promotion business to pressure concert venues to be customers of its Ticketmaster division. A clear signal came in August when Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s antitrust division, said in a Congressional oversight hearing his division was investigating Live Nation for alleged anti-competitive practices. And on two occasions since August, members of Congress have reached out to Delrahim with concerns about the online ticketing business.
As the DOJ goes, so go stock prices. Delrahim’s statement in August sent Live Nation’s otherwise rising share price down 5.8% — though it had fully recovered by Oct. 7. And even with the Dec. 13 decline, Live Nation shares have increased 30.6% this year.