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It’s official: the world is ending! Live Nation and Ticketmaster merge!

on February 10, 2009, 2:45pm

As first rumored last week, Live Nation and Ticketmaster officially announced their plans for a merger earlier today. Under the terms of the deal, Live Nation, INC, which is currently the world’s largest concert promoter, has agreed to purchase Ticketmaster, the country’s top ticket outlet, for the sum of $400 million. According to Reuters, the new company, now called Live Nation Entertainment, will sell more than 150 million concert tickets a year, promote 22,000 concerts annually, own more than 140 venues globally, and represent over 200 artists, including Madonna and Jay-Z.

New York Senator Charles Schumer blasted the deal, declaring it the creation of a new monopoly: “This merger would give a giant, new entity unrivaled power over concert-goers and the prices they pay to see their favorite artists and bands.”

The deal is still pending approval, and according to regulatory experts, it is not a given it will pass. Any proposal will be reviewed and likely delayed by an antitrust review.

Under the current deal, the two companies would save nearly $40 million, Live Nation Chief Executive Officer Michael Rapino explained in a statement: “Too many tickets go unsold and too many fans are frustrated with their ticket-buying experiences…the new company will work to simplify the ticketing process and increase attendance at events.”

Senator Schumer does not believe that’s necessarily the case. In an email to Bloomberg.com, the New York politican noted the agreement would “send ticket prices through the roof.” “I will take a very close look at this merger before anything moves forward,” said Schumer, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee and called on the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to view the deal skeptically.

I think we’re going to side with the latter opinion on this one…

Of course, we’ll update you as more information becomes available.

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