Ticketmaster CEO says Live Nation merger necessary

Irving Azoff says standalone ticketing business might not survive, adding that Bruce Springsteen's criticism of the deal is "uninformed."

Ticketmaster's Irving Azoff rejects criticism by Bruce Springsteen and others of the proposed buyout of Live Nation. Ina Fried/CNET

CARLSBAD, Calif.--Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff portrayed his company on Wednesday as one that needs the merger with Live Nation to survive.

"Any of you guys can write a program to sell some tickets," he told the crowd at the D: All Things Digital conference here.

Conference co-host Kara Swisher took issue with his positioning. "Most people don't consider Ticketmaster a victim," Swisher said.

Azoff noted that more and more entities are getting into the ticketing business, forcing his company to diversify as well.

"It's the natural evolution of business," he said. "It's just a myth that there is not real competition."

He rejected the criticism of the proposed deal from Bruce Springsteen and others.

"I would say Bruce is uninformed," he said.

Asked about the deal's prospects of ultimately going through, he said: "We're very optimistic and enthusiastic that the merger will get done sometime between now and the second half of the year," he said.

About the author

    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.


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