House of Blues (HOB) Entertainment has completed a $110 million recapitalization plan, with the announcement that Ares Management has invested $30 million in the company.

House of Blues (HOB) Entertainment has completed a $110 million recapitalization plan, with the announcement that Ares Management has invested $30 million in the company.

Other recent transactions have included an additional investment by longtime HOB backer JP Morgan Partners and a new bank credit facility led by Banc of America Securities.

Ares made its investment through its private-equity arm, Ares Corporate Opportunities Fund.

HOB CEO Greg Trojan says the money will help fund growth. "This will help us grow our clubs, along with touring opportunities and possibly hotels," says Trojan. "But the key term is 'selective.' We're not going to go out and build 100 of these [clubs]. Our growth plan is predicated on being careful."

The recapitalization is the latest development in the ongoing saga of HOB, which was on the block for most of 2001 before being taken off in the fall of 2002. Among those making a run at HOB were Anschutz Entertainment Group, Clear Channel Entertainment and a combination of the two; former Ticketmaster CEO Fred Rosen's Key3 Media; and a group headed by manager Howard Kaufman.

In 2001, HOB downsized its content and digital ventures, expanded Internet ticketing and sought joint-venture financing for venue projects. This reorganization resulted in pink slips for 39 employees, primarily staffers in new media at HOB's Hollywood offices. Among those to exit were Lou Mann, former president of media properties for HOB.

"As the saying goes, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," says Trojan. "We've gotten better. We're better operators than we were two or three years ago."

HOB Concerts (formerly Universal Concerts) and its multiple amphitheater properties were acquired by HOB in 1999 for $190 million. The deal at that time included Universal's amphitheater business, with large sheds in Denver; Atlanta; San Diego; Dallas; Toronto; George, Wash.; and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and the 7,800-capacity Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, Calif.
HOB has since added a 20,000-seat amphitheater in Austin and is in negotiations for a new shed in San Jose, Calif. It partners with Nederlander Concerts in booking and operating the Greek Theater in L.A. HOB has also announced plans to add at least five club venues to its existing seven.