SFX Revenue Booms, But Rock in Rio Las Vegas Leaves a Mark

The EDM promoter lowered its 2015 guidance to account for start-up costs of the inaugural Las Vegas event.

SFX Extertainment, the EDM-focused concert promoter, grew revenue 56.6 percent to $52.2 million in the first quarter. Operating loss improved to $29.8 million from $35.6 million and net loss improved to $41.5 million from $56 million.

Year-to-year comparisons aren't straightforward for a growing company like SFX, however. Because any one period includes acquisitions made less than 12 months earlier, pro forma financials are needed for like-to-like comparisons. Pro forma revenue increased 14.6 percent, while pro forma earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improved 17.6 percent to -$13.2 million.

While the first quarter is typically a slow for live music events, SFX's earnings call still provided a few notable items.

One such item was lower 2015 guidance to reflect first-quarter results and the results of this month's two-weekend Rock in Rio Las Vegas festival. The company dropped revenue guidance to $500 million from "in excess of $500 million." Reflecting expected losses of $4 million to $5 million related to the start-up costs for Rock in Rio Las Vegas, SFX lowered guidance on pro forma adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was lowered to the $55 million to $65 million range from the $60 million to $70 million range.

Another notable item was discussion of Sillerman's offer of $4.75 per share for the approximately 62.6 percent of SFX's outstanding common stock he does not already own. On March 10, the company named three members of its board of directors to serve on a special committee to weigh Sillerman's proposal and consider alternative offers. Although Sillerman said he is "quite optimistic" the committee will agree on his price, he also said he would not object to an outside offer that exceeds a price he's willing to pay.