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What Caused the Live Nation Stock to Drop 7% and How Did Put Contracts Gain 1,600% in One Day?

Live Nation Entertainment (LYV) - ★★★★ - Ranked #10 in our Q2 2024 SMID Equity Rankings

Live Nation Entertainment's (NYSE: LYV) stock price dropped 7% on Tuesday amid reports that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against the live events giant in the coming weeks.

The drop came after The Wall Street Journal reported that the DOJ is planning to sue Live Nation, alleging the company has "used its dominance in the ticket selling space to undermine competition." The potential lawsuit would represent a major escalation of the government's long-running investigation into Live Nation's business practices.

Notably, some options traders saw a huge one day return on the decline in Live Nation's stock price. Data shows that some options contracts with an April 19 2024 expiration and a $95 strike price saw gains of over 1,600% on Tuesday, as traders bet on downside for the stock. Those contracts closed at $0.18 ($18) on Monday and finished Tuesday trading at $3.08 ($308) per contract.

Live Nation is the world's largest live events company, controlling significant portions of the concert ticket sales, venue management, and artist management markets. The company has faced persistent criticism and scrutiny over allegations that it has abused its market power to limit competition.

An antitrust lawsuit from the DOJ would represent a major threat to Live Nation's business model. If successful, the lawsuit could result in the company being forced to divest certain assets or accept stricter regulatory oversight of its practices.

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