MBW noted late last year that Live Nation, led by CEO Michael Rapino, was in particularly aggressive mood – having swooped for seven music companies in 2016.
Little did we know, that was just the beginning.
In the first three months of 2017 alone, LN has taken control of no less than six music businesses.
Its latest acquisition is the UK’s Isle Of Wight Festival, which will now be co-run by LN with John Giddings’ Solo Music Agency – after Live Nation purchased a majority stake in the event.
Other buyouts in 2017 have included:
- Independent British promotions company Cuffe & Taylor, which runs Lytham Festival and Greenwich Music Time event (January);
- The effective acquisition (technically, a new company launch) of UK independent promoter Metropolis Music (January);
- The BottleRock Napa Valley festival in California (January);
- Idaho-based touring business CT Touring (January);
- Leading Israeli promoter, Bluestone Entertainment (February)
These acquisitions add to the seven live event company buyouts which Live Nation made in 2016:
- South Africa’s largest music show promoter, Big Concerts (February);
- The festival portfolio of Union Events in Canada, including X-Fest (Calgary), Sonic Boom (Edmonton), and Chasing Summer (Calgary) (February).
- Athens-based sports ticketing operator Tickethour, acquired by LNE subsidiary Ticketmaster (July);
- French promoter Nous Productions, picked up from Warner Music Group (August);
- A majority stake in Tennessee’s AC Entertainment, which co-founded The Bonnaroo Arts and Music Festival and puts on more than 1,000 shows per year (October);
- A majority stake in Sweden Rock Festival – one of the Nordic market’s most popular music events (November);
- A controlling stake in Australia’s Secret Sounds Group (December)
And that list doesn’t even include LN’s acquisition of YouTube multi-channel specialist InDMusic in May last year.
Live Nation’s total revenues in 2016 stood at a record $8.35bn, up 17% at constant currency – with an overall operating income of $194.9m.
The company’s biggest money-spinner, concert promotion, saw revenues rise 20% at constant currency to $5.87bn, while its other two biggest divisions – ticketing ($1.83bn) and sponsorship ($377.6m) – both also saw double-digit annual revenue rises.
According to SEC filings, the business used $211.6 million of cash (net of cash acquired) on acquisitions in the year – primarily for the acquisitions of a concert promoter in Germany, controlling interests in festival and concert promoters in the United Kingdom, United States and Sweden.
As MBW revealed in February, Live Nation’s subsidiaries are now managing more than 500 artists – over double the number they were looking after just three years ago.Music Business Worldwide