Live Nation Profit Climbs 12% on Concert Business Growth

Live Nation Entertainment Inc., the world’s biggest concert promoter, said third-quarter profit increased 12 percent on growth in ticketing, talent management and sponsorship.

Net income grew to $57.9 million, or 31 cents a share, from $51.7 million, or 27 cents, a year earlier, Beverly Hills, California-based Live Nation said yesterday in a statement. Sales gained 9.7 percent to $1.96 billion, exceeding the $1.82 billion average of four analysts’ estimates.

Live Nation is revamping Ticketmaster, adding territories outside the U.S. and expanding its roster of concert festivals to boost operating income 35 percent through 2015, Chief Executive Officer Michael Rapino told investors last month. The company expects growth in concerts, ticketing and sponsorship in the current quarter. The company has sold 3 million tickets for events in the year ahead, compared with 900,000 a year ago.

“The more popular my concert business, even though it’s the least profitable in terms of margins, the more we make on ticketing and sponsorship,” Rapino said in an interview. “It’s the engine that drives our global platform.”

Pink, Rihanna and other performers are selling tickets earlier, giving the company more time to market shows, Rapino said. With more tickets sold in advance, managers of other acts gain confidence to tour, he said.

Thinking Ahead

“We like that artists are thinking about 2013 in September,” Rapino said. “We usually aren’t putting these on sale until February or March. It doesn’t effect later business, we won’t see any decline next year.”

Adjusted operating income of $202.4 million beat the $192.7 million average of estimates. Adjusted operating income excludes acquisition costs related to the 2010 purchase of Ticketmaster, asset sales, depreciation, amortization and stock-based compensation.

Live Nation fell 0.8 percent to $9.17 yesterday in New York and has gained 10 percent this year.

The company held 5,182 events that drew 11.5 million attendees in North America and 4.27 million elsewhere, with worldwide attendance up 1.6 percent, according to the statement.

North American spending per attendee rose to $18.55 in the period from $18.03 a year earlier, the company said. International festival goers spent an average $15.71 each, up from $16.80 a year earlier.

Live Nation sold 36.1 million tickets valued at $2.1 billion in the period, compared with 34.9 million tickets worth $2 billion a year earlier. Sponsorship revenue grew 12 percent to $81.5 million in the period from $72.7 million, the company said. Online advertising rose 4.3 percent to $14.3 million.

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