The two biggest names in concert promotion and ticketing have formally agreed to become one.
The Boards of Directors of Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment Monday night, February 9, voted unanimously to merge, creating a company that could control upwards of 70 percent of the concert market.
According to a joint statement from the two companies, the deal calls for the new company to be named Live Nation Entertainment, and Live Nation will offer 1.384 shares of its stock for each share of Ticketmaster stock. Currently, Live Nation’s shares trade under the symbol LYV, while Ticketmaster’s trade under the symbol TKTM. Equity in the new company will be split equally between shareholders of each company.
Shares from the two companies have not fared well in recent months as Wall Street questioned the long-term prospects of each. Live Nation stock was up about 9 percent this morning to $5.77 per share, while trading on Ticketmaster stock was stopped at $6.57 per share on Monday. See tickers below.
When the deal will close, however, is unknown because it is sure to receive heavy scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division. In addition, the shareholders of the two companies must also approve the merger.
The two companies are stressing that the merger will improve transparency in the marketplace, and also offer more “ticket pricing options” for fans, but whether that means a drop in prices is unknown.
Barry Diller, Chairman of Ticketmaster Entertainment, will be Chairman of the Board of the new company, and Michael Rapino, currently CEO and President of Live Nation, will serve in the same role at Live Nation Entertainment. Irving Azoff, CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment, will become Executive Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and CEO of Front Line. Live Nation Entertainment’s board will consist of 14 directors, seven from each company, according to the two companies, and they will continue to operate independently until the deal closes. The new company will be valued at $2.5 billion, and by merging they expect to save $40 million annually.
“This combination will drive measurable benefits to consumers and accelerate the execution of our strategy to build a better artist-to-fan direct distribution platform,” Rapino said in a statement. “As every industry observer knows, too many tickets go unsold and too many fans are frustrated with their ticket-buying experiences. The current inefficiencies in the system result in higher costs and confusion over access to seats. Together, we will work to simplify the ticketing process and ultimately increase attendance at live events. This is also a logical step in the evolution of our business model, creating a more diversified company with a stronger financial profile that will drive improved shareholder value over the long term.”
Azoff said in a statement, “This merger, and the resources of these combined companies, will create a new dynamic and unique creative platform of choice for fans across all levels of the live entertainment experience. There is nothing more magical than the bond and the intimate relationship of fans to artists. It is truly an experience that needs to be embraced and nurtured with both integrity and respect. One of the mandates of the combined company will be to develop that bond to unsurpassed levels. Additionally, the Live Nation and Ticketmaster relationship will allow the live entertainment community and their respective venues to reach fans on unparalleled platforms. I look forward to working closely with Michael Rapino and the Live Nation team during this exciting and industry changing time.”
Opposition to the merger has grown since news of the plan broke last week, but it has not only been relegated to the U.S.
“The combination of Live Nation and Ticketmaster will create a company that controls over 70 percent of the UK ticketing market, the country’s largest music promoter and management of over 200 of the world’s top artists. Neither party has suggested how this tie-up in any way could be in the interests of fans,” said Joe Cohen, founder and CEO of UK-based Seatwave, in a statement. “Such an entity could easily control prices and supply in the market, crowd out other promoters and stifle innovation in a sector that sits in the centre of the UK culture. This deal will most certainly mean that we will see increased prices on tickets and job cuts in both companies.”
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