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Live Nation could face 2026 trial in US antitrust case, judge says

The U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit seeking to break up entertainment industry giant Live Nation (LYV.N), opens new tab and its Ticketmaster unit could go to trial in early 2026, a judge in New York said on Thursday.

At the first hearing in the blockbuster antitrust lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Arun Subramanian called the timeline “appropriate” given the scope of the case but did not set a firm date. Live Nation said it would push to transfer the case to Washington, D.C.

The Justice Department, 29 states and the District of Columbia in May accused Live Nation and Ticketmaster of unlawfully monopolizing the live events industry, harming artists and causing consumers to pay higher ticket prices.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster have denied any wrongdoing, asserting that the market has never been more competitive.

Thursday’s hearing in Manhattan and court filings, opens new tab this week offered a glimpse at the legal battle ahead, which comes more than a decade after the Justice Department agreed to allow Live Nation to merge with Ticketmaster.

Live Nation and Justice Department spokespeople did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Subramanian met for about an hour on Thursday with lawyers for both sides.

Live Nation attorney David Marriott said at the hearing that the company planned to argue that the case should be heard in Washington, where a judge in 2010 approved a consent decree allowing the merger with Ticketmaster to take place.

The D.C. court retained control over issues tied to the consent decree, Marriott said.

Justice Department attorney Bonny Sweeney at the hearing countered that the new case was “vastly” broader than what was addressed by the earlier consent judgment.

Subramanian said he was inclined to keep his control over the lawsuit but would weigh Live Nation’s arguments.

More states are preparing to join the lawsuit, Sweeney said at the hearing, and indicated that the government planned to file an amended lawsuit.

The Justice Department has asked for a jury trial.

The case is United States, et al v. Live Nation Entertainment, et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 1:24-cv-0397-AS. Reuters

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