Top Endeavor execs leave Live Nation board under antitrust pressure

FILE PHOTO: The logo for Live Nation Entertainment is displayed on a screen on the floor at the NYSE in New York
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Two top executives of Endeavor Group Holdings, including chief executive Ari Emanuel, have stepped down from the board of directors of entertainment giant Live Nation because of antitrust concerns, the U.S. Justice Department said on Monday.

Emanuel has been on the Live Nation board of directors since 2007 while Mark Shapiro, president of Endeavor, joined the Live Nation board in 2008, according to the Live Nation website.

Both left the Live Nation board this month.

The Justice Department said it had expressed concern about the presence of the two men on the board creating "an illegal interlocking directorate," where two competitors have the same people running them.

The problem cropped up last year when Endeavor bought On Location, which creates luxury packages for sports and music events for VIPs, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Live Nation also sells tickets and VIP packages to live music, sports and other entertainment, the department said.

"These resignations ensure that Endeavor and Live Nation will compete independently," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard Powers of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. "Executives are not permitted to hold board positions on companies that compete with each other."

A spokesperson for Endeavor said there had been no violation of any law, adding: "We understand and respect the DOJ’s (Justice Department's) concerns regarding the current similarities of our businesses."

A spokesperson for Live Nation did not respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Nick Zieminski and David Gregorio)

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