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Live Nation, Ticketmaster stocks up

Concert vendors talking merge, shares rise

Concert promoter Live Nation and dominant ticket vendor Ticketmaster saw their stocks rise Wednesday on news they’re in advanced merger talks.

Shares in Live Nation gained 4.6% to $5.22 and Ticketmaster surged 13% to $6.96 in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report of the discussions. Both companies remained tight-lipped about the potential combo.

The deal would undoubtedly face regulatory hurdles since it would unite the largest concert promoter and artist management act in Live Nation and the largest ticketing service in Ticketmaster.

At the same time, a tie-up would end increasingly fractious competition between the two. Live Nation started its own ticketing service on Jan. 1, so many Wall Streeters see the merger as a way for Ticketmaster to prevent losing its longtime turf.

Many music biz figures took a dim view of the concept Wednesday. Bruce Springsteen and his manager, Jon Landau, posted a comment on the rocker’s website. “The one thing that would make the current ticket situation even worse for the fan than it is now would be Ticketmaster and Live Nation coming up with a single system, thereby returning us to a near monopoly situation,” they said in the statement.

(Phil Gallo in Hollywood contributed to this report.)

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