COMPETITION
Live event industry

The UK Competition Commission’s report into the proposed Hamsard 2786 Ltd / Academy Music Holdings Ltd deal has now been published. The Competition Commission has formally decided that the proposed acquisition of a controlling interest in Academy Music Holdings Limited (Academy) by Hamsard 2786 Limited (Hamsard) would lead to a substantial lessening of competition in relation to certain live music venues in London, resulting, in particular, in rentals at the venues concerned being higher than would otherwise be the case. If the acquisition of the controlling interest is to proceed, the merging companies will first be required to sell one of either the Brixton Academy or the Hammersmith Apollo and one of either the Shepherd’s Bush Empire or the Forum. These venues represent the closest alternatives to each other in London for artists, agents and promoters of popular live music events and would come under common ownership following the acquisition. Hamsard will not be permitted to acquire a controlling interest in Academy until there is a binding sale/purchase commitment for the venues in question. The sale will need to be approved by the Commission so that it is made to a suitable purchaser(s) and is likely to include venue management and booking teams, contracts with customers and suppliers as well as customer information and contact lists, in order to help ensure the viability of the venues for any purchaser(s). Hamsard is jointly controlled by Live Nation (Music) UK Ltd (Live Nation) and Gaiety Investments Ltd. Through its ownership of Mean Fiddler Music Group Ltd, Hamsard operates live music venues in London, including the Astoria, and the Forum. It also has a management contract for the Wembley Arena. Academy owns the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and the Brixton Academy as well as a number of other venues in London and elsewhere. Live Nation owns the Hammersmith Apollo, and a number of theatres in London. It also owns venues (mostly theatres) in 20 other cities in the UK. The final report and accompanying press release available at:http://www.competition-commission.org.uk/.