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The Justice Department yesterday ended its antitrust investigation of Ticketmaster "closing the book on an investigation that once threatened to dramatically alter business practices" for the ticket industry, writes Chuck Phillips in this morning's L.A. TIMES. The one-year investigation was "prompted by complaints" from rock group Pearl Jam and centered on the company's practice of paying a portion of its service fees to venues in exchange for exclusive ticketing rights. The news "lifts a huge cloud of uncertainly that had threatened the company's ambitious plans to launch new electronic services and establish itself as a broad-based entertainment company" (L.A. TIMES. 7/6). Ticketmaster sold 55 million tickets last year for $1.6B. Consumer Group U.S. PIRG estimates that the company averages a 27% charge on each ticket sold. Ticketmaster Senior VP Judy Black said the average fee has been 12% over the last five years (AP/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/6).