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Competition regulator to investigate Live Nation’s IOW Festival purchase

By | Published on Wednesday 26 April 2017

Isle Of Wight Festival

Live Nation’s previously reported acquisition of a majority stake in the Isle Of Wight Festival is to be investigated by the Competition And Markets Authority, which will ask whether the live music giant taking a significant slice of the annual event will lead to a “substantial lessening of competition” in the festivals market.

The live music major has expanded its UK festivals portfolio considerably in recent years, mainly via LN-Gaiety, its joint venture with Irish music industry veteran Denis Desmond, who now heads up Live Nation’s UK operation.

It’s not clear why the CMA has decided to investigate this particular acquisition. It’s been a while since Live Nation has been the subject of a competition regulator review in the UK – past such reviews having focused on the firm’s venue network and its 2010 merger with Ticketmaster.

The CMA is yet to set a timetable for its review of the IOW Festival purchase, though it says it has asked Live Nation to ensure the festival continues to operate as a separate entity until its investigation is complete.

It remains to be seen if other players in the UK live sector – maybe AEG Presents or another company that has been buying up festivals of late, Global – will formally object to Live Nation’s IOW Festival deal during the CMA review.