livenation_logoHypebot reports that the US Justice Department is close to a positive ruling on whether or not to allow a merger between live music giants Live Nation (LYV) and Ticket Master (TKTM). The deal has already been approved by UK bodies, and if it goes ahead will create the biggest live music and ticket sales company in the world (hence the scrutiny from monopoly legislators). Shares in both companies have jumped more than 3.5% after this hopeful news, but are still more than a third down on their pre-crash values (Aug ’08).

The live music industry has seen a difficult couple of years, with a lot of smaller festivals being postponed or cancelled – consolidation makes a lot of sense for these two big companies, and we’ve seen them selling underperforming assets and shedding debt, I’d guess the upshot will be more uniform ticket prices, and a smaller range of venues being played by massive artists as they get signed to lucrative exclusives by the newborn giant as it exploits the new confidence inevitably born of being the biggest player in the market. tm_standard