The target price for Live Nation Entertainment stock, which trades under the symbol LYV, has been lowered by an influential financial analyst as concerns about show cancellations continue to swirl around the ticketing and concert promotions giant.
Just three weeks ago, Ben Mogil of investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners forecast Live Nation’s stock could reach $19.50 in the coming months, in part because the company expects a certain number of cancellations each season and is positioned to absorb them.
Much of the music press, however, has been unrelenting in its gloom-and-doom accounts of the concert industry this summer, and slow ticket sales for a host of shows and tours, including the current American Idols Live! outing and the upcoming Jonas Brothers tour.
Mogil has revised his target price to $17, down nearly 13 percent from the previous target, though he retained the company’s “Overweight” rating, which means he believes Live Nation’s returns will likely outperform the rest of the industry over the next 12 months. Just prior to the close of financial markets today, July 8, Live Nation stock was trading at about $10.98 per share, which up about 33 cents compared to the previous close. See the stock ticker by clicking here.
“We are lowering our target price on Live Nation from $19.50 to $17.00 as we are reducing our 2010 estimates, although we are retaining our Overweight rating,” Mogil wrote in research note to investors this week. “The company is slated to host an investor day on July 15th in New York and we believe that the company will likely use the event as an opportunity to discuss some recent press speculation regarding the health of the concert business and likely also use it as a forum to update/tighten guidance because of better visibility by then for the remainder of the summer concert season. Our new estimates are largely a result of the U2 tour postponement and we believe that some of the concerns over the amphitheater environment while valid are overblown.”
The U2 postponement will likely cost Live Nation about $30 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), which is one of the main drivers of the reduction in the stock target price, Mogil said.
Adding to that are concerns that much of the target audience for many shows in amphitheaters remains underemployed. At 11 Live Nation amphitheaters, for example, less than 10 percent of shows have been canceled this year, or 22 cancellations out of 251 shows, Mogil stated, which he added is in a “normalized range” for the company.
But, with more artists on the road, due to a continually increasing number of acts generating most of their revenue through touring as opposed to recorded music sales, more cancelations are likely.
“To be fair the core amphitheatre demographic (16-24 years) has not seen its employment situation brighten of late and in fact the situation continues to deteriorate,” Mogil wrote.