Germany’s DEAG, via its UK-based subsidiary Kilimanjaro, has acquired 90% of the shares in British promoter and event organizer UK Live Ltd.
The acquisition adds to DEAG’s UK portfolio of live companies, which also include ticketing outlet Gigantic Holdings (acquired in 2019), plus promoter the Flying Music Group (acquired in 2017) and Scotland’s Belladrum Festival (acquired in 2018).
DEAG acquired a 51% stake in Stuart Galbraith’s Kilimanjaro in 2014. Earlier this year, Kilimanjaro acquired a stake in Collective Form, and last year it launched the joint venture, Singular Artists, in Ireland.
UK Live has been established as an event promoter for more than 10 years and is one of the largest independent promoters in the UK.
In recent years, the company has organized concerts with artists such as Craig David, Kim Wilde, Rick Astley and the Kaiser Chiefs. Its portfolio also includes the music festival Let’s Rock in 14 cities in the UK.
The co-founders and Managing Directors of UK Live, Nick Billinghurst and Matt Smith, will stay on board as shareholders. DEAG says the duo will “continue to manage the company in the long term”.
Detlef Kornett, member of the Executive Board of DEAG, said: “In view of the positive development with regard to the vaccination situation in our core markets, we expect to see our business activities increasingly return to normal in the coming months. We are already setting the course for a continuation of our successful business development and can further expand our strong market position in the UK with the acquisition of UK Live.
“UK Live has its own productions and independently covers the complete infrastructure from stage set-up to technology. By focusing on the domestic market, UK Live’s business activities are hardly affected by the Brexit. The partnership with UK Live offers us potential, especially for our ticketing and live entertainment business. For example, we will offer tickets for UK Live events for sale exclusively through Gigantic.com.”
“We are already setting the course for a continuation of our successful business development and can further expand our strong market position in the UK with the acquisition of UK Live.”
Detlef Kornett, DEAG
Stuart Galbraith, CEO of Kilimanjaro, said: “The acquisition of UK Live adds attractive events and concerts to our events portfolio. Nick Billinghurst and Matt Smith have many years of experience in the live entertainment industry and have shaped UK Live from its early days with Let’s Rock The Moor with 1,000 visitors to a successful company with over a dozen festivals and countless concerts within only a few years.
“Today, [UK Live’s] four series of events – Let’s Rock, Penn Fest, Friday Night Live Norwich, and Sunday Sessions – alone attract over 200,000 visitors annually.”
Nick Billinghurst, Managing Director of UK Live, commented: “We are very excited about our future collaboration with DEAG and look forward to driving our growth journey together. With DEAG, we have a strong partner on our side, with whom we are ideally positioned for the post-corona era.
“Together we will soon be presenting our audience with top-class concerts and events again. I am sure that both sides will benefit from our merger in the long term.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this week that the full-scale “re-opening” of the UK – including large-scale gatherings at music events – was being delayed by four weeks, from its scheduled June 21 date to July 19.
The British live music industry has called the delay “devastating”.
Greg Parmley, CEO of UK live music industry trade body LIVE, said: “The briefing we are seeing of a delay to our reopening later this month is devastating to the live music industry .Our research shows that a delay of a month would lead to the cancellation of over 5,000 planned events costing our industry hundreds of millions of pounds.
“Live music fears being left behind and irreversibly damaged as countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, Israel, the United States and Belgium announce they will begin running large full-capacity live events this summer.”
“The Government said the Events Research Programme would give us the evidence we needed to open safely. We have spent the last three months participating in, and paying for, full capacity pilot events that gave us this evidence. To protect the future of our industry we are calling for full transparency from the Government, for them to release the full report that proves how we can open safely and to work with us to give everyone the summer of music we all want.”
Music Business Worldwide