Live Nation acquires MLK, launches aggressive bid to rule German market

Live Nation has effectively acquired the fifth largest live music promoter in the world, Germany’s MLK (Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur), as it announces ambitions plans to become the No.1 player in the region.

[Update: Live Nation has acquired MLK’s owners, team and contracts, but not the brand name, which stays at CTS Eventim along with two festival events previously run by Lieberberg, Rock Am Ring and Rock im Park.]

As a result, the US company is launching Live Nation Concerts Germany, headed up by MLK founder and respected live music industry figure, Marek Lieberberg.

The new company will begin promoting gigs and festivals in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on January 1, 2016.

The acquisition price of the assets of MLK, which promotes around 700 gigs a year, was not disclosed.

Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster will serve as the lead ticketing company for LN Concerts Germany – adding over 2 million tickets from MLK shows to its inventory.

Andre Lieberberg (pictured left) will serve as President of Live Nation Concerts Germany under Marek Lieberberg (pictured right).

“Becoming a part of live nation is the dream of every promoter.”

Marek Lieberberg, Live Nation Concerts Germany/MLK

“I have worked with Marek and Andre for over 20 years, and they are clearly among the top promoters in the world,” said Live Nation Entertainment President and CEO, Michael Rapino.

“Having them lead Live Nation’s concert business for Germany is an ideal fit, and continuing to build on our global scale in concerts provides our sponsors with increased access to fans in an important European market while adding millions of tickets to our Ticketmaster inventory,”

“Becoming a part of Live Nation is the dream of every promoter,” said Marek Lieberberg.

“Gaining access to Live Nation’s concert platform and sponsorship team will take our business to another level, and accessing Ticketmaster’s leading technology will enable us to reach more fans and provide them with a unique service.”

Marek Lieberberg has worked with Live Nation in the past to promote tours including Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, U2 and Madonna, and on his own has worked with Depeche Mode, Metallica, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Bublé, Coldplay, Queen and Celine Dion.

The buyout of MLK and launch of Live Nation Concerts Germany represents a concerted effort by Live Nation to rule Germany – one of the few major territories in the world where it has so far struggled to dominate.

The company will be taking on something of an old enemy for Michael Rapino and his team in the market: CTS Eventim.

In 2013, Live Nation was cleared of any liability in a potentially damaging lawsuit brought by CTS.

The three-year case related to LN cancelling its ticketing software licence with CTS in 2010, and shifting its ticketing partnership to Ticketmaster, which it acquired in the same year.

The verdict not only meant Live Nation avoided a potential payout in excess of $200m but, more importantly, left it free to make an aggressive move to own the German/GSA market.

That move has just been made.Music Business Worldwide

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