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Live Nation

This profile considers US live entertainment group Live Nation, spun off from the Clear Channel broadcast and outdoor advertising giant in 2005.

It covers -

  • introduction
  • the group
  • SFX, KCX and HOB
  • holdings
  • studies
  • landmarks


Live Nation was the largest US live entertainment group (ie concert promoter and operator of venues such as music clubs and entertainment stadia) as of April 2006.

It was spun off from the broadcasting and outdoor advertising giant Clear Channel in December 2005, amid criticisms that Clear was too big and that returns on its live entertainment arm were too low. The move involved distribution of Live Nation shares to Clear shareholders.

At that time Clear boasted

the world's largest broadcasting portfolio, including the Company's 1,189 owned and operated domestic radio stations, equity interests in various international broadcasting companies, a leading national radio network and 40 owned or programmed TV stations.

The group

Overall Live Nation encompasses over 153 concert venues, featuring some 29,000 events in 2005. Revenue for that year was US$2.9 billion (up 4.7% on 2004), with a loss of US$13.2 million compared to a US$59.0 million profit in 2004.

In addition to ownership and/or operation of those venues the group includes concert management/promotion services and talent agency services.


SFX Entertainment was acquired by Clear in 2000 for US$4.4 billion.

It had been founded in 1997 by Robert F X Sillerman, executive chair of SFX Broadcasting (acquired that year by Capstar for US$2.1 billion and thus absorbed by Clear in 1999 as part of the AMFM Inc takeover).

In 2004 Clear announced plans to wholly spin off SFX, with the temporary name of CCE Spinco. As of 2004 it comprised entertainment operations throughout North America, Europe, South America, Asia and Australia, with annual 2004 sales of US$2.75 billion.

Sillerman concurrently announced establishment of CKX Inc and a definitive agreement to acquire an 85% interest in the Elvis Presley estate (including the Elvis personality rights, operation of Graceland and revenue derived from Presley's music, films and television specials).

In 2005 Clear acquired a controlling stake in Hamsard, which controlled the Mean Fiddler Group. Mean Fiddler was founded by Vince Power (1947- ) with the opening of a small club in Harlesden, UK in 1982. Power subsequently added a string of venues and events such as the Reading Festival, becoming the largest contemporary music promoter in Europe and floating the company on the UK Alternative Investment Market in 2001. During 2002 Mean Fiddler took operational control of the Glastonbury festival, with a 40% stake in the company that owned the festival site.

In December 2005 SFX/Spinco was spun off as Live Nation. At that time it owned or operated 117 venues: 75 in the US and 42 in other nations. Those venues included 39 amphitheatres, 58 theatres, 14 clubs, four arenas and two festival sites. It also held rights to book events at a further 33 venues.

In July 2006 Live Nation acquired HOB Entertainment (operator of the House of Blues clubs) for US$350m. HOB was the third largest US live entertainment promoter, behind Live Nation and Anschutz's AEG.

Its acquisition added 18 concert sites of various sizes to Live Nation's 150 amphitheatres, clubs and other sites. HOB gained public attention in 1999 when it paid US$190 million to acquire a network of amphitheaters from Seagram.


Live Nation holdings and events include -

  • SFX Entertainment - venue and artist management (including ownership and/or exclusive rights for 135 live entertainment venues, production of high profile 'events' such as halftime features at the US Super Bowl, and representation of performers and sportspeople)
  • Mojo Concerts - production of music concerts and festivals in the US and elsewhere, including Ozzfest, Jagermeister Music Tour, Pinkpop, and North Sea Jazz
  • Milano Concerti and Trident Agency (Italy)
  • Welldone Agency & Promotion (Finland)
  • dkbMotor (Denmark)
  • EMA Telstar (Sweden)
  • Gunnar Eide Concerts (Norway)
  • Clear Channel Entertainment do Brasil (Brazil) music promotion and production company
  • 50.1% stake in Hamsard Ltd - Mean Fiddler Music Group (music festivals such as Glastonbury Festival and Leeds Festival and venues such as London Astoria)
  • stakes in CPI companies
  • US touring productions of Broadway shows such as The Lion King
  • United States Hot Rod Association (USHRA), promoter of 'tractor pulls'
  • production of sports events such as Legg Mason Tennis Classic, American Century Golf Championship and THQ World Supercross GP
  • management and operation of music events at Wembley Arena and The National Bowl in Milton Keynes
  • management of UK venues such as the Liverpool Empire, Bristol Hippodrome, Sunderland Empire and Edinburgh Playhouse

The group operates in

  • USA
  • Brazil
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • UK
  • China
  • Singapore


There have been no major studies of Clear, Live Nation or HOB.


1972 San Antonio Broadcasting Company acquires KEEZ-FM for US$125,000

1973 Concert Productions International (CPI) founded by Michael Cohl

1975 buys WOAI-AM

1982 Mean Fiddler founded by Vince Power

1986 San Antonio Broadcasting goes public as Clear

1989 creates sports division, Clear Channel Sports, for radio rights to broadcast certain NCAA sports events

1989 Mean Fiddler begins promoting the Reading Festival

1990 Mean Fiddler launches The Fleadh music festival

1992 House of Blues (later Hob Entertainment) founded

1993 Steven Hicks founds SFX Broadcasting

1996 Steve Hicks leaves SFX Broadcasting, forms Capstar Broadcasting with HMTF

1997 Capstar buys SFX Broadcasting (71 stations) for US$2.1bn

1997 Robert F X Sillerman, executive chair of SFX Broadcasting, founds SFX Entertainment

1998 Chancellor buys Capstar stations, becomes AMFM Inc radio station chain

1999 Clear pays US$23.5bn for AMFM, taking portfolio to over 900 stations

1999 Mean Fiddler starts promoting the Homelands Festival

1999 HOB buys network of amphitheaters from Seagram for US$190m

2000 Mean Fiddler acquires LA2

2000 Clear buys SFX Entertainment for US$4.4bn

2001 Ackerley sells Seattle SuperSonics NBA franchise for US$200m to Seattle group led by Starbucks' Howard Schultz

2001 Clear buys Milani Concerti and Trident Agency in Italy

2002 sells Hispanic Broadcasting to Univision for US$3.5bn

2002 Mean Fiddler takes operational control of Glastonbury Festival

2005 Mean Fiddler acquired by Hamsard (50.5% held by Clear)

2005 Clear announces plans to spin off entertainment unit (SFX/Clear Channel Entertainment) and sell 10% stake in outdoor ad unit

2005 spins off entertainment unit as CCE Spinnco (Live Nation from 2006)

2006 Live Nation sells some LA sports representation assets to agent Arn Tellem

2006 sells interests in several large-scale theatre projects to production company BASE Entertainment (inc Planet Hollywood Las Vegas, partnership interests in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular and touring property Cirque de Soleil/Delirium with Cirque de Soleil American)

2006 buys controlling interest in touring division of CPI and 50% interest in Grand Entertainment division of CPI

2006 Live Nation buys HOB Entertainment (operator of the House of Blues clubs and third largest US live entertainment promoter) for US$350m