Rumors were circulating through the ticket industry today, Feb. 27, that a partnership of Ticketmaster and Cablevision Systems, the major East Coast cable television operator and owner of Madison Square Garden, are preparing to buy as much as 49 percent of tour promoter AEG Live for an undisclosed amount.
TicketNews left messages with the three principals in an attempt to obtain comment on, or confirmation of, the possible deal, and heard back from AEG Live spokesperson Michael Roth who said the company does not comment on rumors. The other two companies did not respond by press time. The announcement could come as early as tomorrow, Feb. 28, the same day that Ticketmaster rival Live Nation was scheduled to hold a conference call to discuss its fourth quarter earnings.
If true, the purchase would give Ticketmaster direct access to one of the largest concert promoters in the world as it tries to position itself for its fight with Live Nation, which is Ticketmaster’s largest client until 2009 when Live Nation is splitting with the company to form its own ticketing operation.
Earlier this week, The New York Post reported that Cablevision had begun working with investment bank Bear Stearns Cos. to explore several strategic options for the company, including possible acquisition targets, including music venues, and the possible sale of its Rainbow Media Division. The division, which the Post estimates could be worth $3 billion, includes the cable television networks WE:Women’s Entertainment, Independent Film Channel (IFC) and American Movie Classics (AMC).