Isle of Wight Festival takeover by Live Nation cleared

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Festival goers watch Busted on the main stageImage source, PA
Image caption,
The CMA said Isle of Wight Festival ticket prices would not be affected by the deal

A takeover bid for the Isle of Wight Festival has been cleared by a government watchdog.

The inquiry came after bidder Live Nation said in March it had become the majority shareholder in the event.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has ruled the deal will still allow choice for festival-goers and will not harm rival events.

A spokeswoman said Live Nation would still face strong competition on ticket prices.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Live Nation has a stake in about 20 UK festivals

Announcing its decision, the CMA said it had dismissed complaints that the deal would enable Live Nation to stop rival events from booking the range and quality of artists they wanted.

The CMA also said the Isle of Wight Festival was "not competing particularly closely for customers" with the firm's existing portfolio.

The spokeswoman said people would still have a choice between different festivals or rival forms of entertainment.

Live Nation, which is based in Los Angeles, bought eight major festivals worldwide in 2016.

It has a stake in about 20 UK festivals, including Download, Reading and Leeds.

Image source, Evening Standard/Getty Images
Image caption,
Jimi Hendrix made a headline performance at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970

Isle of Wight Festival founder John Giddings, who will continue to run the event, previously said the deal would "give us the ability to access the company's scale and talent pool, bringing more acts and a better experience to the UK".

Mr Giddings revived the festival in 2002 after a 32-year hiatus.

It first started in 1968, with guitarist Jimi Hendrix making a headline performance in 1970.

Live Nation and Mr Gidding's company, Solo Promoters Ltd, have been approached for comment.

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