ticketmasterlivenationIn a reversal, regulators in the United Kingdom have approved a proposed merger of Ticketmaster and concert promoter Live Nation. The British Competition Commission said ‘‘the merger will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in the market for live music ticket retailing or in any other market.’’ The announcement marks a victory for the entertainment powerhouses, who are trying to overcome antitrust questions about the deal, which was announced in February; it is still under review in Canada and in the U.S., where opponents have launched an internet-based campaign (including a Web site called Ticketdisaster.org). The decision (which follows similar ones in Norway and Turkey) reverses preliminary findings by the British Competition Commission, an independent agency, which came out in October; at that time, the commission suggested that the proposed merger might raise prices and hurt competition. Concerns were raised that the deal would alter the landscape at the same moment CTS Eventim, a German-based company and Ticketmaster’s biggest competitor, was about to enter the British market. CTS Eventim had already contracted with Live Nation in Britain to provide ticketing software and services. The agency said, though, that Live Nation’s contract with Eventim wouldn’t be affected by merging with Ticketmaster. Combined, Live Nation and Ticketmaster – both based in California – would have estimated annual revenue of around $6 billion. Ticketmaster distributes tickets through retail outlets globally and online. Live Nation is the world’s largest concert producer, with annual sales of 45 million tickets. Last summer, members of Congress urged the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, Christine Varney, to scrutinize the deal ‘‘with great skepticism’’ as the newly-merged company ‘‘would enjoy a virtual stranglehold over the live entertainment industry.’’ In mid-December, a group of U.S. lawmakers and competitors of Live Nation and Ticketmaster called upon the Justice Department to stop the deal. – Boomer