CMA says promoter takeover 'will mean higher ticket prices' for Northern Ireland concert-goers

MCD was behind promoting U2 at Croke Park in Dublin
MCD was behind promoting U2 at Croke Park in Dublin MCD was behind promoting U2 at Croke Park in Dublin

COMPETITION authorities have voiced concern at the proposed takeover of events management company MCD Productions by the firm behind Ticketmaster, claiming it could mean higher ticket prices for concert goers.

The Competition and Markets Authority has been investigating the proposed takeover by LN-Gaiety Holdings Limited, a joint venture between Live Nation Entertainment Inc and Gaiety Investments, of MCD, which was founded in 1980 by Eamonn McCann and Denis Desmond.

The CMA says it fears the takeover "raises competition concerns in the music promotion industry in Northern Ireland".

Both companies run music festivals, whilst MCD also promotes live music events.

Live Nation manages artists, operates venues and provides ticketing services through Ticketmaster, which it owns.

Following its initial investigation, the CMA is concerned that the deal could result in less competition in the music promotion industry in Northern Ireland.

It says: "There are only a few rival music promoters in the region and they mainly rely on Ticketmaster to sell tickets to their events.

"As Live Nation already owns Ticketmaster, the CMA is concerned that if it were to acquire MCD, it may be able to stop rival promoters selling tickets through that platform post-merger.

"This could result in less competition in promotion services to artists, leading to higher prices for concert goers, as well as a smaller variety of live music events to choose from."

The CMA has also considered other aspects of the companies’ businesses, such as music festivals and access to music venues, but does not have competition concerns in these areas.

If the merging businesses are unable to address the CMA’s concerns, the deal will be referred for an in-depth phase two investigation to be carried out by a group of independent CMA panel members.

Headquartered in Dun Laoghaire, MCD Productions is one of the best-known and longest-established event management companies in Ireland.

It has hosted U2 before 246,000 over three shows in Croke Park, 135,000 for Robbie Williams in 2003 and 107,000 for the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2004 in Phoenix Park.

It also produced the opening and the closing ceremony for the Special Olympics World Games in Croke Park in 2003.

MCD also owns and operates a number of venues in Dublin including The Olympia, The Gaiety, The Ambassador and The Academy.