Up 37% since Dec. 16.

Live Nation's reception by investors has been initially positive, with the stock price up 37% since the company was spun off from former parent Clear Channel Communications last month.

With a market cap of about $1 billion and a debt load of about $367 million that analysts deem serviceable, Live Nation has been strong out of the gate. Currently, Live Nation stock (NYSE: LYV) is at 14.4 per share, up from 10.75 on Dec. 16.

“We think we have a great company, we’re happy the market is responding to it,” Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino tells Billboard in his first published interview since the spinoff.

In a busy couple of months, Rapino has reorganized and streamlined his company. More than 300 employees have been laid off, close to 9% of the Live Nation global staff of about 3,000, resulting in $20 million in savings.

Rapino insists that as a free-standing company Live Nation will remain aggressive in its pursuit of artists on the national touring front. “Our strategy is not purely market share, it is also a combination of margin and [industry] leadership,” Rapino says. “So we’ll continue to look at the right tours and the right dates and if they fit our model and are economically in the right zone for us, we’ll continue to pursue them. But we’ll also be strong enough to pass on the shows that don’t make economic sense.”

Clear Channel Entertainment, Live Nation’s predecessor, was far and away the dominant promoter in the world in 2005, with more than $1.3 billion in grosses from nearly 6,400 shows reported to Billboard Boxscore.

For more of this exclusive interview with Rapino, check out the new issue of Billboard.