Despite the company’s stock price being down significantly since a high last spring, shares of Live Nation are an attractive buy, according to financial Web site Benzinga.com.
Live Nation stock, which trades under the symbol LYV, closed at $9.66 yesterday, October 19, but it “could find buyers above $10,” the site states, as the company’s merger with Ticketmaster continues to mature. The site believes the stock will again reach — and perhaps move well past — the $16.70 price-per-share it hit in April of this year.
“Essentially, the new company is redefining the economics of how music is consumed and distributed,” the Web site said. “Between ticket sales, promotion, publishing, and management, Live Nation Entertainment’s ‘360 degree’ strategy is unlike any other music or media company.”
Those 360-degree deals, which include touring, merchandising, recording and licensing rights, were lavished on a few artists like Madonna, Jay-Z and Shakira and totaled hundreds of millions of dollars. The largesse of the deals led to the ouster of former Chairman Michael Cohl, and recently the company said it hoped to pay less in upfront guaranteed payments to artists whose tours Live Nation will produce in 2011.
Overall, 2010 has been a difficult one for Live Nation, after spending virtually all of 2009 trying to cement its merger with Ticketmaster. Ticket sales for the summer concert season were disappointing, and many investors sold off the stock following a disastrous company conference call in July where executives tried to calm investor concerns. Stifel, Nicolaus & Company analyst Ben Mogil recently lowered his rating of the stock from a “buy” to a “hold.”
“While the merger has its share of critics, the potential growth of Live Nation Entertainment is difficult to ignore,” the site states. Last week, Liberty Media Chairman John Malone was named interim chairman of Live Nation, replacing Barry Diller who resigned the position.
This afternoon, October 20, at about 3 p.m. EDT, Live Nation stock was selling at about $9.53 per share, down about $0.13 from Tuesday’s close.