COMPETITION / CONSUMER
Live events sector
Germany’s competition regulator has blocked CTS Eventim from acquiring Berlin-based booking agency Four Artists, citing concerns about the ticketing firm’s dominance in the country’s live industry. Among the artists represented by Four Artists are David Guetta, James Blunt, Chase & Status and Best Coast.
Andreas Mundt, the President of Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) , said: “CTS Eventim is already the market leader in Germany and by far the largest ticket system. In addition, it has already integrated various tour operators into its group structure in the past” adding that the Four Artists acquisition “would strengthen CTS’s existing dominant position [in the ticketing market] thereby significantly hindering effective competition in the affected markets” explaining that “With Four Artists, CTS Eventim would integrate a major event organiser into its group, locking additional ticket allocations of between 500,000 and one million tickets per year to its own system”, it went on. “The expansion possibilities for competing ticket system providers would thereby be weakened”.
The Bundeskartellamt said the CTS Eventim system distributes 60 to 70 per cent of all tickets sold in Germany via its systems. In contrast, most other providers are much smaller, and “in part dependent on cooperation with CTS”.
The regulator also found that CTS Eventim’s market position is additionally strengthened by the group’s own online shop eventim.de, through which the company sells a substantial part of the tickets themselves. In addition, CTS Eventim has tied a large proportion of the total market volume to its own system through numerous group-owned tour operators and exclusive contracts. The Federal Cartel Office currently pursuing a separate legal action against CTS Eventim in Germany, accusing the company of abusing its dominant position with concerns over the use of exclusivity agreements with promoters .
CTS is looking to appeal the Four Artists decision.
In a move that will almost certainly attract regulatory attention, and would make its market share in live events even more dominant, Live Nation is reported to be among the bidders for venue management giant SMG. SMG, which has the world’s largest venue portfolio of some 500 arenas, stadia, theatres, amphitheatres and convention centers across North America, Europe and Asia (according to IQ-Mag.net) was put on the market by its current owner Northlane Capital Partners, and is expected to fetch somewhere in the neighbourhood of $750 million.