Live Nation faces class action lawsuit following antitrust investigation

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Live Nation is facing a class action lawsuit from disgruntled investors who believe that the group made false statements about its operations.

According to Robbins LLP, one investor has already begun legal action in California relating to Live Nation’s business practices, most notably its failure to disclose anticompetitive conduct that left it open to regulatory scrutiny and penalties.

At least four legal practices are soliciting investors to join the lawsuit that was filed last week against Live Nation in the wake of reports that the Department of Justice plans to sue the company for antitrust violations. In the class action filed on August 4 in California, investors accused the company of lying to them about allegedly anticompetitive company operations that include charging high fees and extended contracts with talent, and retaliated against venues.

Robbins said similarly situated shareholders may be eligible to participate in the class action against Live Nation. It added that shareholders who want to act as lead plaintiff for the class must file their motion for lead plaintiff by October 3, 2023.

Wall Street law firm Moore Kuehn, PLLC said it is investigating potential claims against Live Nation’s actions.

These include the November 2022 report in the New York Times which said that the DOJ had opened an antitrust investigation into Ticketmaster and Live Nation after the ticketing platform’s systems crashed during a highly-anticipated presale for Taylor Swift tickets. The ensuing chaos of disappointed “Swifties” highlighted Live Nation’s power over the live music industry, exacerbating complaints that the Company has “constrained competition and harmed consumers.”

It is also looking into the February 23 NPR report, following Congressional hearings, when the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights wrote to the DOJ, presenting evidence that “Live Nation is harming America’s music industry.” The letter cited issues with Live Nation’s pricing models and fees, increasingly long contracts with competitors, and retaliatory behaviour against artists and venues that don’t want to work with it. The senators “encourage[d]” the DOJ to take action if it found Live Nation had “walled itself off from competitive pressure at the expense of the industry and fans.”

The final area of investigation for Moore Kuehn is the July 2023 Politico report that the DOJ “could file an antitrust lawsuit against [Live Nation and Ticketmaster] by the end of the year, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.” Politico further reported that the DOJ complaint is

Live Nation and Ticketmaster have been accused of acting in an anti-competitive way ever since the two companies merged back in 2010. In order to get regulator approval of that merger in the US, Live Nation made a number of commitments regarding how the Live Nation touring and venue businesses would interact with Ticketmaster via a 10- year consent decree agreed with the American government’s Department Of Justice.

As that consent decree was getting close to expiring, Live Nation was accused of violating some of its terms. Having looked into the allegations, the DoJ began planning legal action. But a deal was done that stopped the matter from getting to court, and also extended the consent decree for another five years. Since then further allegations of misconduct have been made by Live Nation’s competitors and critics.

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