SBD/6/Law Politics

JUSTICE'S INVESTIGATION OF TICKETMASTER ENDS QUIETLY

     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).
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