For a mere $22.5 million, Don Law, Boston’s most prominent concert promoter, has obtained ownership or a controlling interest in three famed local venues, the Boston Opera House, the Orpheum Theatre and the Paradise Rock Club.
In the process, Law, who is president of Live Nation New England, has also hedged his bets should the proposed merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation does not go through. Attempts to reach Law were unsuccessful.
With producer partner David Mugar, under what they call Boston Opera House Ventures LLC, Law purchased the Opera House outright, the operating contract for the Orepheum, and a controlling interest in the Paradise. Law will remain with Live Nation in his current title, but he could also use the venues to launch a new independent promotions company that could rival Live Nation in that city. In addition, he could use the properties as a springboard to become involved in other cities in the Northeast.
In a short interview with the Boston Globe in the spring, Law said the opportunity to buy the properties was too tempting to pass up, but he stopped short of saying what his exact plans are. “I said to [Live Nation President and CEO] Michael Rapino, ‘If you’re determined to sell, sell to me.’ I didn’t go looking for this. It was convenient. I thought the asset was special.”
The sale was originally announced in the spring, but didn’t close until this month and comes at a time when Live Nation is trying to pay down its massive debt as it continues its efforts to close on the proposed merger with Ticketmaster.
“In our continuing focus on de-leveraging our balance sheet, 50 percent of the closing proceeds will be applied as a permanent reduction in term loans, with the balance to remain available for general working capital purposes,” Rapino said in a statement. The company will “continue to promote non-theatrical shows at the three venues” and will also continue its presence in the Boston concert scene by promoting shows at its other local venues, which include the House of Blues Boston.
Law, who has a reputation as a shrewd and fair promoter and businessman, sold his promotions company to Live Nation precursor SFX Entertainment close to a dozen years ago for $80 million, according to published reports. He has been a fixture in the Boston concert scene for nearly 40 years, and has promoted countless major shows in that city.
(The image accompanying this story is from the Boston Globe)