CTS Eventim’s planned acquisition of Four Artists has been blocked by Germany’s competition regulator.

The Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) said the ticketing giant’s ownership of the Berlin-based concert and event agency could give it an unfair advantage in the live events sector.

Four Artists’ client list includes around 300 national and international artists, including The Fantastic Four, Clueso, Marteria, David Guetta, Rea Garvey and Andreas Bourani.

Bundeskartellamt is also currently conducting a lawsuit against CTS Eventim on suspicion of abuse of a dominant position by concluding exclusive contracts with tour operators and advance booking offices.

Andreas Mundt, president of the Bundeskartellamt, said: “CTS Eventim is the market leader in Germany, and by far the largest ticket system.

“Organisers of concerts or tours rely on CTS as well as ticket outlets that want to distribute tickets. In addition, CTS Eventim has a very strong market position in ticket distribution via its own online shop and has already integrated various tour operators into its group structure in the past.

“The acquisition of Four Artists would give the company control over other relevant ticket contingents and further expand its market position.”

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 regulator added: “With Four Artists , CTS Eventim would integrate a major event organiser into its group, binding additional ticket contingents of 500,000 – 1 million tickets per year to its own system. The expansion possibilities of competing ticket system providers would thereby be weakened.”

Last week, CTS Eventim said that a strong performance in its ticketing and live entertainment segments were behind its significant growth in revenue and normalised EBITDA in the first nine months of 2017.