Antitrust Law Daily Entertainment company denied quick win in ‘Ozzy’ Osbourne’s tying case
Thursday, August 2, 2018

Entertainment company denied quick win in ‘Ozzy’ Osbourne’s tying case

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

"Ozzy" Osbourne adequately alleged standing to pursue tying claims against various Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) companies based on an AEG requirement that the musician perform a Los Angeles live show at the Staples Center in order to perform at the O2 Arena in London. The federal district court in Los Angeles denied a motion to dismiss, rejecting AEG’s arguments that Ozzy was not the proper plaintiff. AEG unsuccessfully contended that, because Ozzy’s concert promoter—Live Nation—was the party required to book him at the Staples Center if Ozzy was to play the O2 Arena, Ozzy, personally, was not the target of any purported restraint. Ozzy adequately alleged that he personally suffered damage in a fairly direct and non-speculative way by not being able to play in his preferred venues, and that damage stemmed from the kind of conduct that antitrust law was intended to prevent. Further, he alleged that the conduct was coercive. The possibility that Ozzy might have been able to play a Los Angeles venue other than the Staples Center if he promoted that show through someone other than Live Nation did not make AEG’s conduct non-coercive (Osbourne v. Anschutz Entertainment Group, Inc., August 1, 2018, Fischer, D.).

Ozzy brought the suit on behalf of a proposed class of similarly situated performers. He alleged that AEG was using market power in one market to foreclose competition in another through a tying arrangement. AEG owns or controls London’s O2 Arena and the Los Angeles Staples Center, as well as over 100 other concert facilities.

Market definition. In addition to rejecting AEG’s arguments that Ozzy failed to plead standing or coercion, the court refused to dismiss on the ground that the complaint’s market definition allegations were defective. AEG contended that Ozzy defined the tying market to be AEG’s O2 Arena. However, Ozzy alleged that large indoor arenas in Greater London—venues capable of hosting one of his shows—was the relevant tying market and that the O2 Arena was the only venue that currently existed in that market. As a result, AEG was able to implement a coercive tie, according to the allegations. The court also was satisfied that Ozzy alleged competition was harmed through the restriction of competition in the tied market – indoor arena-sized venues in Los Angeles.

The case is No. 2:18-cv-02310-DSF-JEM.

Attorneys: Daniel M. Wall (Latham and Watkins LLP) for John Michael Ozzy Osbourne. Paul Benedict Salvaty (Hogan Lovells LLP) for Anschutz Entertainment Group, Inc., AEG Presents LLC, L.A. Arena Co., LLC and Ansco Arena Ltd.

Companies: Anschutz Entertainment Group, Inc.; AEG Presents LLC; L.A. Arena Co., LLC; Ansco Arena Ltd.

MainStory: TopStory Antitrust CaliforniaNews

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