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Competition Commission provisionally approves AEG’s management of Wembley Arena

By | Published on Friday 9 August 2013


Interested parties have until Tuesday to respond to a provisional ruling by the Competition Commission on AEG’s deal to manage the Wembley Arena complex, which gave the arrangement a green light.

As previously reported, AEG won the rights to manage the Wembley Arena venue, previously held by Live Nation, late last year. But competitors immediately raised concerns about the new arrangement, mainly because AEG also operates London’s other big arena venue at The O2 complex, meaning the capital’s two most important venues for major entertainment events will be in the hands of the same company. AEG also co-owns another major London venue in the Hammersmith Apollo.

The Office Of Fair Trading referred the new arrangement to the Competition Commission back in March, but the competition authority, in a ruling published last month and recently spotted by LIVE UK, has provisionally knocked back raised concerns, saying that AEG running the Wembley Arena would not result in a “substantial lessening of competition”.

Said the Commission’s Martin Cave: “We have focused our analysis on how the merger will affect the ability of their competitors and potential competitors to compete as live venue operators in the UK. We found that while a promoter may have some influence over venue decision, the final choice of venue usually lies with the act and their agent”.

He added: “This is based on a number of quality factors, the main ones being capacity, availability, appearance, brand and reputation, rather than hire price. AEG’s opportunity to increase venue prices would be limited given that other factors are more important and that any negotiation on price takes place after the venue has been confirmed”.

Stakeholders must feedback on the provisional report by Tuesday, with a final ruling expected by 5 Sep.