While controversy swirls about Live Nation Entertainment and Ticketmaster’s market power and whether or not new laws or even a full break-up by the Department of Justice are needed to address it, the company once again reported record-shattering earnings with its 2023 Q1 numbers this week. Revenue was up 73% compared to the first three months of 2022, with 90 million tickets sold already – and indications that the average ticket price surging is paying huge dividends for the California-based corporation.

“2023 is off to a tremendous start,” boasts the press release announcing the financial results. “For the first time in three years, all of our markets are fully open. The common theme we are seeing around the world is that live experiences are a high priority for fans.”

Live Nation and Ticketmaster boasted the sale of 7.3 million tickets in the new year, totaling a staggering $7.7 billion in gross transaction value – those numbers being 40% and 60% ahead of the same period in 2023. In simple math, this means that the average ticket price is far higher, as systems like “Platinum” tickets and “dynamic” ticket pricing algorithms continue to be embraced by many artists despite major fan blowback, with notable exceptions like The Cure.

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Total revenue ($3.1 billion), operating income ($143 million) and AOI ($320 million) were up massively compared to 2022 numbers, reflecting the full reopening of live entertainment and continuing a string of record-setting quarterly earnings reports.

CEO Michael Rapino, who it was recently revealed saw his compensation rise to a staggering $139 million in 2022, says he expects those trends to continue throughout 2023.

“Our results for the first quarter demonstrate the success of our strategy and sets us up for strong growth in 2023,” he says. “We expect to host a record number of fans this year, even against a 2022 comparison which benefited from rescheduled shows attended by 20 million fans. Ticketmaster should also deliver record activity, with around 600 million tickets managed globally this year. Our sponsorship business, even after incredible growth last year, looks to be on track for double-digit AOI growth again this year.”

“As we then look to 2024 and beyond, we have all the necessary levers to build our flywheel globally and continue to compound AOI by double-digits for the foreseeable future.”

The full earnings report is available here, with the financial highlights pasted below:

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS – FIRST QUARTER

TFL and ATBS for ticketing professionals

(unaudited; $ in millions)

Q1 2023
Reported

Q1 2022
Reported

Growth

Q1 2023
Constant
Currency

Growth at
Constant
Currency

Revenue

Concerts

$     2,281.2

$     1,207.8

89 %

$     2,328.0

93 %

Ticketing

677.7

480.4

41 %

684.3

42 %

Sponsorship & Advertising

170.1

115.7

47 %

169.8

47 %

Other and Eliminations

(1.6)

(1.1)

*

(1.5)

*

$     3,127.4

$     1,802.8

73 %

$     3,180.6

76 %

Consolidated Operating Income

$        142.8

$          27.1

*

$        148.2

*

Adjusted Operating Income (Loss)

Concerts

$            0.8

$         (49.2)

*

$            2.6

*

Ticketing

271.1

206.2

31 %

271.5

32 %

Sponsorship & Advertising

95.4

69.7

37 %

95.8

37 %

Other and Eliminations

(7.8)

(4.4)

*

(7.8)

*

Corporate

(39.8)

(13.3)

*

(39.8)

*

$        319.7

$        209.0

53 %

$        322.3

54 %

* Percentages are not meaningful

Reconciliation of Adjusted Operating Income to Operating Income (Unaudited)

Q1 2023

Q1 2022

(in millions)

Adjusted Operating Income

$               319.7

$               209.0

Acquisition expenses

13.2

12.0

Amortization of non-recoupable ticketing contract advances

20.4

18.5

Depreciation and amortization

115.2

100.5

Loss on sale of operating assets

0.5

1.7

Stock-based compensation expense

27.6

49.2

Operating income

$               142.8

$                 27.1

KEY OPERATING METRICS

(unaudited)

Q1 2023

Q1 2022

(in thousands except estimated events)

Concerts (1)

Estimated events:

North America

6,036

4,736

International

3,594

1,978

Total estimated events

9,630

6,714

Estimated fans:

North America

7,575

6,829

International

11,934

4,069

Total estimated fans

19,509

10,898

Ticketing (2)

Estimated number of fee-bearing tickets

72,579

51,563

Estimated number of non-fee-bearing tickets

73,200

59,883

Total estimated tickets sold

145,779

111,446

 _________

(1)

Events generally represent a single performance by an artist. Fans generally represent the number of people who attend an event. Festivals are counted as one event in the quarter in which the festival begins, but the number of fans is based on the days the fans were present at the festival and thus can be reported across multiple quarters. Events and fan attendance metrics are estimated each quarter.

(2)

The fee-bearing tickets estimated above include primary and secondary tickets that are sold using our Ticketmaster systems or that we issue through affiliates. This includes primary tickets sold during the year regardless of event timing, except for our own events where our concert promoters control ticketing which are reported when the events occur. The non-fee-bearing tickets estimated above include primary tickets sold using our Ticketmaster systems, through season seat packages and our venue clients’ box offices, along with tickets sold on our “do it yourself” platform. These ticket metrics are net of any refunds requested and any cancellations that occurred during the period, which may result in a negative number.

Reconciliation of Certain Non-GAAP Measures to Their Most Directly Comparable GAAP Measures (Unaudited)

Reconciliation of Free Cash Flow — Adjusted to Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities

($ in millions)

Q1 2023

Q1 2022

Net cash provided by operating activities

$              1,155.8

$              1,198.3

Less: Changes in operating assets and liabilities (working capital)

(902.3)

(1,056.4)

Free cash flow from earnings

$                 253.5

$                 141.9

Less: Maintenance capital expenditures

(8.6)

$                  (13.8)

          Distributions to noncontrolling interests

(54.9)

(39.0)

Free cash flow — adjusted

$                 190.0

$                   89.1

Net cash used in investing activities

$                  (59.8)

$                (115.0)

Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities

$                 225.7

$                  (75.0)

Reconciliation of Free Cash to Cash and Cash Equivalents

($ in millions)

March 31,
2023

Cash and cash equivalents

$                       6,992.0

Client cash

(1,422.0)

Deferred revenue — event-related

(4,432.3)

Accrued artist fees

(122.0)

Collections on behalf of others

(58.5)

Prepaid expenses — event-related

905.9

Free cash

$                       1,863.1

  • As of March 31, 2023, total cash and cash equivalents were $7.0 billion, which includes $1.4 billion in ticketing client cash and $1.9 billion in free cash. This free cash, along with $579.7 million of available debt capacity, gives the company $2.4 billion of available liquidity. The company believes this level of liquidity will provide its needs to fund operations and future investment opportunities.
  • The company expects capital expenditures to be approximately $450 million in 2023 as we continue catching up on projects delayed due to supply chain constraints and further expand our global platform.

Forward-Looking Statements, Non-GAAP Financial Measures and Reconciliations:

Certain statements in this press release, including the Supplemental Information that follows, constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to statements the regarding fan demand; the company’s expectation that its new venues will host nearly 3 million fans in 2023 at approximately 1,000 shows; the company’s positioning for strong growth and a record 2023; the company’s expectations that it will host a record number of fans in 2023, that Ticketmaster will deliver record activity with around 600 million tickets managed globally in 2023, and that the company’s sponsorship and advertising business is on track for double-digit adjusted operating income growth in 2023; the company’s ability to compound adjusted operating income by double-digits for the foreseeable future; the company’s belief that its current level of liquidity will provide its needs to fund operations and future investment opportunities; and the company’s current expectations for capital expenditures for 2023.

Live Nation wishes to caution you that there are some known and unknown factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including but not limited to operational challenges in achieving strategic objectives and executing on the company’s plans, the risk that the company’s markets do not evolve as anticipated, the potential impact of any economic slowdown and operational challenges associated with selling tickets and staging events.

Live Nation refers you to the documents it files from time to time with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, specifically the section titled “Item 1A. Risk Factors” of the company’s most recent Annual Report filed on Form 10-K, and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and its Current Reports on Form 8-K, which contain and identify other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the company’s projections or forward-looking statements. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements which speak only as of the date on which they are made. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements by or concerning Live Nation are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements above. Live Nation does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements because of new information, future events or otherwise.

This press release contains certain non-GAAP financial measures as defined by SEC Regulation G. A reconciliation of each such measure to its most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, together with an explanation of why management believes that these non-GAAP financial measures provide useful information to investors, is provided herein.

Adjusted Operating Income (Loss), or AOI, is a non-GAAP financial measure that we define as operating income (loss) before certain stock-based compensation expense, loss (gain) on disposal of operating assets, depreciation and amortization (including goodwill impairment), amortization of non-recoupable ticketing contract advances and acquisition expenses (including transaction costs, changes in the fair value of accrued acquisition-related contingent consideration obligations, and acquisition-related severance and compensation). We use AOI to evaluate the performance of our operating segments. We believe that information about AOI assists investors by allowing them to evaluate changes in the operating results of our portfolio of businesses separate from non-operational factors that affect net income (loss), thus providing insights into both operations and the other factors that affect reported results. AOI is not calculated or presented in accordance with GAAP. A limitation of the use of AOI as a performance measure is that it does not reflect the periodic costs of certain amortizing assets used in generating revenue in our business. Accordingly, AOI should be considered in addition to, and not as a substitute for, operating income (loss), net income (loss), and other measures of financial performance reported in accordance with GAAP. Furthermore, this measure may vary among other companies; thus, AOI as presented herein may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies.

Constant Currency is a non-GAAP financial measure when applied to a GAAP financial measure. We calculate currency impacts as the difference between current period activity translated using the current period’s currency exchange rates and the comparable prior period’s currency exchange rates. We present constant currency information to provide a framework for assessing how our underlying businesses performed excluding the effect of foreign currency rate fluctuations.

Free Cash Flow — Adjusted, or FCF, is a non-GAAP financial measure that we define as net cash provided by (used in) operating activities less changes in operating assets and liabilities, less maintenance capital expenditures, less distributions to noncontrolling interest partners. We use FCF among other measures, to evaluate the ability of operations to generate cash that is available for purposes other than maintenance capital expenditures. We believe that information about FCF provides investors with an important perspective on the cash available to service debt, make acquisitions, and for revenue generating capital expenditures. FCF is not calculated or presented in accordance with GAAP. A limitation of the use of FCF as a performance measure is that it does not necessarily represent funds available for operations and is not necessarily a measure of our ability to fund our cash needs. Accordingly, FCF should be considered in addition to, and not as a substitute for, net cash provided by (used in) operating activities and other measures of financial performance reported in accordance with GAAP. Furthermore, this measure may vary among other companies; thus, FCF as presented herein may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies.

Free Cash is a non-GAAP financial measure that we define as cash and cash equivalents less ticketing-related client funds, less event-related deferred revenue, less accrued expenses due to artists and cash collected on behalf of others, plus event-related prepaids. We use free cash as a proxy for how much cash we have available to, among other things, optionally repay debt balances, make acquisitions and fund revenue generating capital expenditures. Free cash is not calculated or presented in accordance with GAAP. A limitation of the use of free cash as a performance measure is that it does not necessarily represent funds available from operations and it is not necessarily a measure of our ability to fund our cash needs. Accordingly, free cash should be considered in addition to, and not as a substitute for, cash and cash equivalents and other measures of financial performance reported in accordance with GAAP. Furthermore, this measure may vary among other companies; thus, free cash as presented herein may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies.

LIVE NATION ENTERTAINMENT, INC.

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(unaudited)

March 31,
2023

December 31,
2022

(in thousands)

ASSETS

Current assets

    Cash and cash equivalents

$               6,991,987

$               5,606,457

    Accounts receivable, less allowance of $62,224 and $63,294, respectively

1,657,210

1,465,383

    Prepaid expenses

1,323,199

949,826

    Restricted cash

5,465

5,917

    Other current assets

119,260

131,939

Total current assets

10,097,121

8,159,522

Property, plant and equipment, net

1,887,070

1,487,663

Operating lease assets

1,580,919

1,571,395

Intangible assets

    Definite-lived intangible assets, net

1,054,538

1,050,622

    Indefinite-lived intangible assets, net

368,771

368,712

Goodwill

2,577,317

2,529,380

Long-term advances

594,556

568,558

Other long-term assets

709,299

724,989

Total assets

$             18,869,591

$             16,460,841

LIABILITIES AND EQUITY

Current liabilities

    Accounts payable, client accounts

$               1,815,911

$               1,791,025

    Accounts payable

172,649

180,076

    Accrued expenses

2,002,429

2,368,434

    Deferred revenue

5,103,432

3,134,800

    Current portion of long-term debt, net

63,870

620,032

    Current portion of operating lease liabilities

142,951

140,232

    Other current liabilities

72,845

68,716

Total current liabilities

9,374,087

8,303,315

Long-term debt, net

6,547,911

5,283,467

Long-term operating lease liabilities

1,646,624

1,654,525

Other long-term liabilities

511,473

455,971

Commitments and contingent liabilities

Redeemable noncontrolling interests

710,350

669,766

Stockholders’ equity

    Common stock

2,289

2,285

    Additional paid-in capital

2,535,553

2,698,316

    Accumulated deficit

(2,974,398)

(2,971,229)

    Cost of shares held in treasury

(6,865)

(6,865)

    Accumulated other comprehensive loss

(17,425)

(90,076)

Total Live Nation stockholders’ equity

(460,846)

(367,569)

Noncontrolling interests

539,992

461,366

Total equity

79,146

93,797

Total liabilities and equity

$             18,869,591

$             16,460,841

LIVE NATION ENTERTAINMENT, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(unaudited)

Three Months Ended March 31,

2023

2022

(in thousands, except share and per share data)

Revenue

$               3,127,390

$               1,802,808

Operating expenses:

Direct operating expenses

2,115,589

1,071,022

Selling, general and administrative expenses

690,321

570,182

Depreciation and amortization

115,185

100,469

Loss on disposal of operating assets

504

1,665

Corporate expenses

63,015

32,410

Operating income

142,776

27,060

Interest expense

89,215

66,773

Loss on extinguishment of debt

18,366

Interest income

(40,313)

(7,564)

Equity in earnings of nonconsolidated affiliates

(4,107)

(4,288)

Other expense, net

11,583

9,399

Income (loss) before income taxes

68,032

(37,260)

Income tax expense

23,840

11,696

Net income (loss)

44,192

(48,956)

Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests

47,361

1,226

Net loss attributable to common stockholders of Live Nation

$                     (3,169)

$                   (50,182)

Basic and diluted net loss per common share available to common stockholders of Live Nation

$                       (0.25)

$                       (0.39)

Weighted average common shares outstanding:

Basic and diluted

228,162,831

221,890,625

Reconciliation to net loss available to common stockholders of Live Nation:

Net loss attributable to common stockholders of Live Nation

$                     (3,169)

$                   (50,182)

Accretion of redeemable noncontrolling interests

(54,933)

(35,714)

Net loss available to common stockholders of Live Nation—basic and diluted

$                   (58,102)

$                   (85,896)

LIVE NATION ENTERTAINMENT, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(unaudited)

Three Months Ended March 31,

2023

2022

(in thousands)

CASH FLOWS FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES

Net income (loss)

$                       44,192

$                     (48,956)

Reconciling items:

Depreciation

57,710

50,760

Amortization

57,475

49,709

Amortization of non-recoupable ticketing contract advances

20,363

18,527

Amortization of debt issuance costs and discounts

4,630

4,114

Loss on extinguishment of debt

18,366

Stock-based compensation expense

27,571

49,241

Unrealized changes in fair value of contingent consideration

9,702

10,904

Equity in losses of nonconsolidated affiliates, net of distributions

7,793

2,090

Provision for uncollectible accounts receivable

6,054

(536)

Other, net

(307)

6,078

Changes in operating assets and liabilities, net of effects of acquisitions and dispositions:

Increase in accounts receivable

(163,603)

(152,725)

Increase in prepaid expenses and other assets

(369,494)

(338,017)

Increase (decrease) in accounts payable, accrued expenses and other liabilities

(460,749)

236,584

Increase in deferred revenue

1,896,145

1,310,527

Net cash provided by operating activities

1,155,848

1,198,300

CASH FLOWS FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES

Advances of notes receivable

(33,579)

(18,399)

Collections of notes receivable

2,825

6,709

Investments made in nonconsolidated affiliates

(6,455)

(26,243)

Purchases of property, plant and equipment

(116,886)

(62,525)

Cash acquired from (paid for) acquisitions, net of cash paid (acquired)

96,382

(13,962)

Other, net

(2,076)

(533)

Net cash used in investing activities

(59,789)

(114,953)

CASH FLOWS FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES

Proceeds from long-term debt, net of debt issuance costs

987,793

700

Payments on long-term debt

(604,584)

(12,784)

Contributions from noncontrolling interests

5,944

5,712

Distributions to noncontrolling interests

(54,915)

(38,966)

Purchases and sales of noncontrolling interests, net

(21,606)

(105)

Payments for capped call transactions

(75,500)

Proceeds from exercise of stock options

994

10,907

Taxes paid for net share settlement of equity awards

(7,949)

(36,568)

Payments for deferred and contingent consideration

(2,606)

(3,610)

Other, net

(1,870)

(327)

Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities

225,701

(75,041)

Effect of exchange rate changes on cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash

63,318

(21,079)

Net increase in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash

1,385,078

987,227

Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at beginning of period

5,612,374

4,887,792

Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at end of period

$                  6,997,452

$                  5,875,019