February 14, 2009 By Alfred Branch Jr.
While official figures have not yet been released, Live Nation expects its fiscal fourth quarter, ended December 31, 2008, will be strong and beat analyst projections, according to Jason Garner, CEO of Live Nation’s Global Music division.
In an 8-K document the company filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Garner recently told Reuters that Live Nation’s “Adjusted Operating Income for the fourth quarter of 2008 is expected to exceed consensus analyst expectations, driven by the strength of the Company’s core metrics.”
The company is in the midst of the federal regulatory review of its $2.5 billion merger with Ticketmaster Entertainment, and the strong results would appear to belie one of its arguments for the deal, which was the negative impact of the current recession on both companies.
In fact, according to the 8-K statement, “Despite the recession, the Company’s outlook for the remainder of 2009 is optimistic as business remains strong and millions of fans continue to attend concerts.”
Live Nation produced 18 percent more concerts during the fourth quarter, compared to the same period in 2007, and attendance at their shows was up about 15 percent. And, for the first month of 2009, Live Nation sold 5.9 million tickets, up from 5.7 million for the first month in 2008, according to Garner and the 8-K filing.
Not only have ticket sales increased, Live Nation’s sponsorship revenues have also gone up. For the fourth quarter, that revenue jumped 10 percent compared to the same quarter in 2007, according to Garner, and so far in 2009, sponsorship revenue is “pacing ahead” of the same period in 2008 by about 25 percent.
The news did little to help boost Live Nation’s stock, which trades under the symbol LYV, as it was down about 20 cents to $3.65 per share at about 3 pm today, compared to yesterday’s closing price. Ticketmaster’s stock, TKTM, was also down at 3 pm to $4.72; it closed at $4.95 on Thursday. See tickers below.