Belfast Telegraph

Competition watchdog looks into takeover of Isle of Wight Festival

The Isle of Wight Festival's takeover by global entertainment group Live Nation is being looked at by competition watchdogs amid potential concerns over the deal.

Britain's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it was looking at launching an investigation into whether Live Nation's move to snap up a controlling stake in the Isle of Wight Festival would lead to a "substantial lessening of competition".

The move comes after Live Nation became the majority shareholder in the Isle of Wight Festival in March through LN-Gaiety - its UK joint venture with music mogul Denis Desmond's Gaiety Investments.

Live Nation has added the Isle of Wight event to its portfolio of more than 85 music festivals worldwide, including Reading, Leeds, Wireless and T in in the Park.

The CMA has not yet set a date for consultation submissions or its decision, but has asked Live Nation and the Isle of Wight Festival to operate separately until it gives the merger the green light.

Live Nation has been on a buying spree recently, making eight major acquisitions worldwide in 2016, while the Isle of Wight Festival deal marked its sixth so far this year.

The Isle of Wight Festival is still being led by agent and promoter John Giddings following the sale.

It is expected to attract around 42,000 festival-goers this year, with acts at the June event including DJ David Guetta, Sir Rod Stewart, indie-pop group Bastille and singer-songwriter George Ezra.

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

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