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Live Nation to sell venue operator SMG's tickets

In anticipation of its ticketing service, due to launch in several months, the concert promotion company says it'll handle event ticket sales for SMG's North American venues through 2011.

Music giant Live Nation announced on Thursday that it has partnered with SMG, the operator of 216 stadiums, arenas, convention centers, and concert halls, in an agreement that lasts through 2011.

The announcement is in anticipation of Live Nation's ticketing service, which launches in January and will sell tickets for venues that Live Nation already represents as a promoter as well as third-party partners. Under the terms of the agreement, Live Nation will be the exclusive outlet for SMG's tickets; Live Nation expects the SMG deal to raise its potential ticketing volume by 25 percent.

Live Nation recently ended its ticketing contract with Ticketmaster, owned by InterActiveCorp before CEO Barry Diller spun it off into a separate company. When Live Nation Ticketing launches, the two companies will be direct competitors.

Live Nation has also started offering "360" representation for artists, taking the place of a music label and touring manager, as well as a promoter.