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Ahead Of The Bell: Ticketmaster 1Q Earnings

LOS ANGELES (AP) ¿ Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. reports its first-quarter earnings on Tuesday. Its proposed merger partner, Live Nation Inc., said last week that advance sales for the summer concert season were up from a year ago.

Two analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect first-quarter earnings of 17 cents per share on revenue of $346.6 million. Ticketmaster was spun off from IAC/InterActiveCorp in August.

Gabelli & Co. analyst Brett Harriss recently said Live Nation's outlook for flat ticket volumes in 2009 bodes well for Ticketmaster, especially in a recession.

"One of the big drags on the stock from a valuation perspective has been the fact that live entertainment is discretionary spending," he said. "So far, it seems that the consumer hasn't been willing to sacrifice his one or two live entertainment events a year."

Ticketmaster must clear regulatory hurdles before it can benefit from its merger with Live Nation. The companies said the deal to create Live Nation Entertainment would help them save about $40 million annually.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation expect the U.S. Justice Department to approve their merger by the second half of the year.
Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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