Live Nation Reports Banner Earnings, Expands Western Canada Presence

Live Nation Entertainment said Thursday that its profit soared to a record high, as the global market for concerts booms -- along with the company's skill at making money through them.

The world's largest concert promoter, whose holdings include Ticketmaster, reported revenue of $7.6B in 2015, up 11 percent from the previous calendar year on a constant currency basis.

Operating profit hit a record of $155.9 million, sharply higher than in 2014, when the figure was down due to an impairment charge.

But for fourth quarter, Live Nation posted an operating loss of nearly $34 million, blamed in part on foreign exchange factors.

For the full year, Live Nation posted its strongest growth in advertising and sponsorship as it worked with companies to target fans both at concerts and online.

Advertising per fan grew by eight percent over the year as Live Nation developed new products and pulled in more fans, it said.

The company predicted strong growth in 2016 as it ramps up the number of concerts and promotes tours of major stars such as Beyonce and Rihanna.

In 2015, Live Nation promoted 25,000 concerts that drew more than 63 million fans, a growth of five million from the previous year.

Michael Rapino, Live Nation's president and chief executive officer, said that stars were increasingly thinking about emerging markets as the entertainment world becomes more interconnected.

"The more and more we sit with these artists and talk about what's their global plan, the more and more they are looking at places like South America and Asia, and South Africa and Cape Town, to add to their itinerary," Rapino said on a conference call about the earnings.

"We want to be ahead of the curve on having our platform in place so we can monetize that content," he said.

Read the Q4 Earnings Call transcript here.

In Canada, the concert firm announced a new deal with (Edmonton) Oilers Entertainment Group to bring acts to the new Rogers Place and Winter Garden downtown. "Our partnership with Live Nation Canada is transformational for Oilers Entertainment Group. It places Rogers Place in the upper echelon of venues in North America and lays the foundation for future growth," said Oilers Entertainment Group CEO and Vice Chair Bob Nicholson. "We want Rogers Place to be an amazing venue for live entertainment and Live Nation Canada will help us achieve that goal. This is an important step in OEG's vision to become a global sports and entertainment leader and we are thrilled to have Live Nation as a partner."

"As we continue to expand our growth in the region, I am delighted that we have established this partnership with Oilers Entertainment Group," commented Paul Haagenson, President, Live Nation Canada. "Aligning our strengths with those of OEG was a natural fit, and we are excited to work with the group to bring an even greater array of performances to the area."

Separately, Live Nation Canada announced on Feb. 16 that it had acquired the festival portfolio of Union Events, the major festival and concert promoter based out of Calgary and Edmonton. Over the course of 2016, Union Events will continue to promote their 400 concerts across the country as their concert bookings are integrated into the Live Nation Canada touring division, which produces over 1200 shows annually.



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