Live Nation is taking drastic new measures to recover from the business turmoil it’s been engulfed in due to the ongoing pandemic. The entertainment giant is overhauling much of its standard practices and implementing pay cuts, amending its existing credit agreement and adjusting its financial forecast.
CEO Michael Rapino is forgoing his multi-million dollar salary to reduce costs, while other company executives will see their pay reduced by half on top of enacting furloughs, hiring freezes, and other money-saving initiatives. Additionally, the company reached an agreement with banks to secure a $120 million revolving credit facility, upping the debt capacity to $940 million and overall liquidity position to $3.8 billion. Its net leverage covenant has been amended to substitute consolidated earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization for the second and third quarters of 2020.
“The live entertainment industry has delivered incredible global growth for over 20 years, which speaks to the great passion and resilience of fan demand,” Rapino said in a statement. “With this additional liquidity, the flexibility in our debt covenants, and cost-cutting efforts, we believe that Live Nation has the financial strength to weather this difficult time. We will be ready to ramp back up quickly and once again connect audiences to artists at the concerts they are looking forward to.”
Live Nation saw a historic month in March with the onset of the pandemic in the U.S. The company halted all events March 12-31, impacting some 8,000 shows and 15 million ticket holders. However, only ten percent of the shows were cancelled and therefore required refunds from the company’s owned venues.
“Refunds have been issued for tickets for all canceled shows, and the company expects to allow some refunds for postponed shows in the U.S. and select international markets as new event dates are set,” reads an official release. “In multiple international markets, including Germany, Italy and Belgium, government regulations which allow for the issuance of vouchers in place of cash refunds for rescheduled shows, and in some cases for cancelled shows, have been put in place or drafted.”
All of the aforementioned measures, coupled with the evolving outlooks for the industry, has caused Live Nation to adjust its financial forecast. The adjusted operating income for the first first quarter is expected to take a small loss from the prior year, while the quarter’s revenue is “expected to be down approximately 20%.”
The company projects a savings of $500 million through its cost-reduction initiatives and aims to eliminate, or at least defer into next year, $800 million in cash outflows. Government funding will also be made available in many global markets, including the United States’ CARES Act, to aid in payroll of Live Nation employees.