Live Nation, Ticketmaster Announce Deal

Live Nation plans to buy Ticketmaster Entertainment for $2.5 billion in an all-stock merger of equals, the companies announced today (2/10) following much speculation. Pending regulatory approval, the combined entity will be called Live Nation Entertainment. It will be headed by Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino as CEO, Ticketmaster Entertainment CEO Irving Azoff as executive chairman, and Ticketmaster chairman Barry Diller as non-executive chairman.

Under terms of the agreement, Ticketmaster shareholders will receive 1.384 shares of Live Nation common stock for each share of Ticketmaster they own. Live Nation and Ticketmaster shareholders would each own about 50 percent of the new company.

By combining ticketing, marketing, data centers and back-office functions, it is expected the combined entity would save $40 million a year. Executives also hope to improve access and transparency, ticket pricing options, invest in better ticketing technology, and increase event attendance.

“This combination will drive measurable benefits to consumers and accelerate the execution of our strategy to build a better artist-to-fan direct distribution platform,” Rapino said in a statement. “As every industry observer knows, too many tickets go unsold and too many fans are frustrated with their ticket-buying experiences. The current inefficiencies in the system result in higher costs and confusion over access to seats. Together, we will work to simplify the ticketing process and ultimately increase attendance at live events. This is also a logical step in the evolution of our business model, creating a more diversified company with a stronger financial profile that will drive improved shareholder value over the long term.”

The companies will continue to operate independently until the transaction is completed and will work together to determine the location of the combined company’s headquarters.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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