A week after Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino detailed the company’s plan to reduce artist guarantees for 2011, an announcement partially designed to assuage investor concerns about the company, Live Nation’s stock has crept back up.
The world’s largest concert promoter and ticketing company has seen marked improvement in its stock price – shares trade under the symbol LYV – since the middle of July following an investor conference call where Rapino and Executive Chairman Irving Azoff tried to explain the reasons for slow concert ticket sales and other issues facing the company.
At that time, the company’s stock, which had been trading in the $10 and $11 ranges, began to sink and reached a low of $8.43 per share at the close on August 13. Earlier this week, on September 20, the stock closed at $10.22, the first time the stock had risen above $10 per share in more than two months.
Since that day, the stock has dropped a little bit, but was still more than $1 above that August low. At about 3:45 p.m. EDT today, September 24, the stock was hovering around $9.80 per share.
Earlier this month, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company analyst Ben Mogil lowered his rating of Live Nation, in part because of the amount of money the company was spending on artist guarantees, which is the money the company pays an act to tour. Live Nation then recoups that investment primarily through ticket sales.
Mogil lowered his rating from a “buy” to a “hold,” and explained his reasoning in an email to investors, “We are lowering our rating on Live Nation from Buy to Hold as we would like to see further signs that the industry is committed to reducing artist guarantees. The issue for us increasingly is concern that escalating artist costs are capturing the bulk of the economic gains from the secular growth in the concert business. In years when the economy is weak the extent of those fixed artist costs is evident as is the case this year.”