According to paperwork filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Live Nation (NYSE: LYV) CEO Michael Rapino is liquidating large amounts of his stock in the entertainment giant. Beginning on November 15, the executive sold 70,000 shares of his common stock holdings on each of the following three days at prices ranging from $44.69-45.56 per share.
“Mr Rapino held a total of 7,920,479 shares and stock options, including both vested and unvested shares/stock options, as of November 7, 2017,” explains the filing, signed by attorney Kathy Willard. “Mr. Rapino currently plans to systematically sell certain shares (including shares acquired upon exercise of stock options) in November and December of 2017 in order to diversify his portfolio for tax planning purposes. The securities reported [sold on November 15-17] represent approximately 3% of the shares and stock options held by Mr. Rapino… immediately prior to the commencement of the planned selling activity.”
The 210,000 shares at the prices sold amounted to $9,479,400.00, according to a recap of the activity on dispatchtribunal.com. The sales amounted to more than half of Rapino’s holdings of company stock, leaving him with 185,277 shares, valued at $8,363,403.78 as of their story’s publication on Friday.
This doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but it certainly is interesting to see the President and CEO of the ticketing industry’s behemoth shedding his holdings with the company having just announced the best Q3 it has ever had. Regardless of one’s personal feelings about how Live Nation and Ticketmaster operates within the ticketing ecosystem, their results are pretty undeniable.
As the operator of a massive number of venues, Live Nation holds the keys to just about any major tour both in the United States and abroad. And it locks those tours into exclusive ticketing arrangements with subsidiary Ticketmaster whenever it has the ability to do so. Consumers may complain about the lack of choices and fees charged by Ticketmaster, but until someone can bust up their lock on the game, they’re going to continue to post banner numbers.
It remains to be seen whether some recent developments grow into any sort of significant blow to the LN/TM model. Songkick’s lawsuit against the company for what it characterizes as anti-competitive behavior could be major, but all it’s meant thus far is some negative press due to ugly emails between top brass – Rapino included – surfacing as evidence. Friday’s bombshell that the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans are dumping Ticketmaster in favor of SeatGeek as primary ticketing provider is infinitely more important for SeatGeek than it is Ticketmaster – as far as we know, they’ll still be operating as primary ticketing provider for every other NFL and NBA team (not to mention the NFL’s official secondary marketplace) once 2018 kicks off.
In short, it’s really impossible to know whether or not these moves amount to anything more than some financial housekeeping by Live Nation’s CEO. But it sure is interesting to speculate.