Despite a bruising series of public controversies and unprecedented scrutiny from lawmakers over allegations of anticompetitive business practices, Live Nation corporate executives continued to rake in enormous compensation in 2022, according to multiple reports. CEO Michael Rapino saw nearly $140 million in pay, approximately ten times his compensation from the prior year. That multiple was also seen in the compensation for CFO Joe Berchtold, whose pay rose to nearly $53 million.
Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino experienced a significant increase in his total compensation package in 2022, reaching $139 million compared to the previous year’s $13.8 million. This substantial increase includes a base salary of $3 million, which is up from $2.6 million in 2021. Rapino had agreed to a pay reduction during the pandemic, which affected his earnings in the previous year.
Live Nation, which controls an enormous share of the live entertainment business through its promotional business, venue operations, and ticketing operations through subsidiary Ticketmaster, is a lightning rod for criticism, but that doesn’t seem to have any impact on the value its board sees driven by its key executives. The raise in compensation also seems to run counter to the recent performance of company stock, (NYSE: LYV) which stood at just shy of $120 per share at the start of 2022 but lost over 40 percent of that value during the year, winding up at around $70/share at the end of 2022. LYV is trading at $68.71 as of Monday afternoon.
These pay increases come on the heels of a challenging year for Live Nation Entertainment. The company’s subsidiary, Ticketmaster, faced backlash after its website experienced errors and slowdowns during the Taylor Swift presale for verified fans in fall 2022. Since then, the company has encountered opposition from lawmakers regarding its merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation. Additionally, the Department of Justice is said to be investigating the company.
Despite these challenges, concert attendance has been on the rise, and Live Nation’s revenue has seen an upward trajectory. This positive financial performance could be a contributing factor to the significant pay bumps for both Rapino and Berchtold. As the live event industry continues to recover from the pandemic, Live Nation’s executive leadership may continue to see changes in their compensation packages based on company performance.
In July 2022, Live Nation entered into a new employment agreement with Rapino, which will be effective until Dec. 31, 2027. As part of the new agreement, Rapino received a $6 million signing bonus. The executive’s earnings also included a $12 million annual cash performance bonus for 2022 and stock awards totaling $116 million. Some of these stock awards are set to vest in early 2024, while others will vest in four installments through 2027 if the company achieves specific stock price targets.
Live Nation’s CFO, Joe Berchtold, also saw a considerable increase in his overall compensation package, which rose to $52.4 million in 2022, compared to $5 million the prior year. Berchtold’s base salary increased slightly to $1.3 million from $1.1 million. He also earned a signing bonus of $6 million and an annual cash performance bonus of $2.5 million. Berchtold’s compensation package included $42.4 million in stock awards.
Last Updated on May 1, 2023 by Dave Clark
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