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Bundeskartellamt prohibits merger between CTS Eventim and Four Artists

Date of issue: 23.11.2017

The Bundeskartellamt has prohibited the planned acquisition by CTS Eventim AG & Co. KGaA of the majority of shares in the companies belonging to Konzert- und Veranstaltungsagentur Four Artists - Four Artists Booking Agentur GmbH and Four Artists Events GmbH.

Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: "As the operator of the largest ticketing system in Germany, CTS Eventim holds a dominant position in the market. Concert and tour organisers as well as advance booking offices are dependent on it. The company also has a very powerful market position in the sale of tickets via its own online shop and has already integrated several event organisers into its company's structure in the past. By acquiring Four Artists, CTS Eventim would gain control of additional relevant ticket quotas and expand its market position further."

CTS Eventim is known particularly for its ticket online shop "eventim.de". The company also provides ticketing services for event organisers and advance booking offices, and organises events itself, especially rock/pop tours and festivals.

Among the artists represented by Four Artists, for whom the company organises and markets concerts, are approx. 300 national and international artists, including Die Fantastischen Vier, Clueso, Marteria, David Guetta, Rea Garvey and Andreas Bourani.

The Bundeskartellamt is currently also conducting a proceeding against CTS Eventim on the suspicion that it is abusing its dominant position by concluding exclusive contracts with event organisers and advance booking offices. A decision in this proceeding is expected shortly.

A ticketing system is a platform. On the one side it enables event organisers to sell tickets via different advance booking offices and online shops, and on the other side it enables advance booking offices to book tickets for different events. Ticketing system providers also operate their own advance booking offices, especially their own online shops. Due to the distinctly wider reach of ticketing systems in comparison to other sales channels, selling tickets via a ticketing system is indispensable for many event organisers. In equal measure advance booking offices are also reliant on the use of ticketing systems to gain access to a large number of events.

60-70 per cent of all tickets which are sold via ticketing systems in Germany are sold through CTS Eventim's system. The other ticketing system providers are significantly smaller, operate mainly regionally and sometimes depend on cooperations with CTS.

CTS Eventim's market position is additionally strengthened by its own online shop eventim.de, through which the company sells a substantial share of the tickets. Via its many inhouse event organisers and with the help of exclusive contracts, CTS Eventim has also tied a significant share of the total market volume to its ticketing system.

Factors which indicate that the company has a dominant position are in particular indirect network effects between the event organisers represented on the platform on the one hand and advance booking offices and end customers using the platform on the other, as well as CTS Eventim's lead over its competitors in its access to data relevant for competition.

According to the Bundeskartellamt's assessment, the acquisition of Four Artists would strengthen CTS's dominant position vis-a-vis other event organisers and advance booking offices on the two-sided market for ticketing services and thus significantly impede effective competition on the markets affected. With Four Artists, CTS Eventim would integrate an important event organiser into its company, tying additional ticket quotas of around 500,000 – 1 million tickets to its ticketing system. This would weaken the possibilities of competing ticketing system providers to expand.

Press release (pdf)

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