Live Nation, the world's largest promoter and venue operator, revealed today (March 1) 2006 fourth-quarter revenues of $1.05 billion, an increase of $299.7 million, or 39.8%, compared to the fourth-quarter of 2005.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization increased by $14.8 million to $18 million, operating income increased by $45.7 (a reduced loss of $17 million), and net income increased by $101.8 million (a reduced loss of $33.1 million).

"The fourth-quarter 2006 was positively impacted by our acquisition of
[Concert Productions International], House of Blues and MusicToday," said Live Nation CFO Alan Ridgeway during a teleconference call.

With 2006 having been its first year as an independent, free-standing company, Live Nation was by a wide margin the largest concert promoter in the world, reporting grosses of nearly $2.3 billion from involvement in 9,367 shows that sold 38.2 million tickets worldwide, according to Billboard Boxscore.

This included events promoted by House of Blues, which Live Nation bought for $350 million in a deal that closed in October. It added 29 music venues to Live Nation's portfolio. HOB had been the world's third-largest promoter.

Live Nation also acquired half of Concert Productions International (CPI), MusicToday and Trunk Ltd., and divested some noncore businesses. The company also had a hand in producing seven of the top 10 tours for the year and more than half of the top 25.

"2006 was a record year for the concert industry, and Live Nation was a big part of driving that revenue growth," Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said during the call.

Meanwhile, the number of Live Nation events in the fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2006), excluding the exhibition and sports business and third-party venue rentals, increased by 1,432 to 5,337, or a 36.7% increase, over the same period for 2005. Attendance increased by 1.5 million to 12 million, or 13.8%. Revenue increased by $243.1 million to $856.5 million, or a 39.6% increase, from 2005.

"This growth is due primarily to the acquisition of CPI, which had the Rolling Stones and Barbra Streisand tours; and House of Blues, which were not included in our results in 2005 and which generated a total of $190 million in events revenue during the quarter," Ridgeway noted.

For company's venue and sponsorship division, fourth-quarter revenue increased by $60.1 million to $167.1 million, or a 56.2% increase, over the period in 2005. "This growth was primarily due to the acquisition of House of Blues, which generated $29 million of venue and sponsorship during the quarter," Ridgeway said.

Live Nation's digital distribution segment -- which manages ticketing operations/relationships, as well as online and wireless distribution activities -- increased by $12.1 million to $27.9 million, a 76.9% increased, over the same period in 2005. "This increase was primarily due to the acquisition of MusicToday and House of Blues, which together generated $10 million addition revenue in the quarter," Ridgeway said.

For the full year of 2006, Live Nation reported revenues of $3.6 billion, an increase of $754.7 million, or 25.7% as compared to 2005.

"With one year of operations behind us, I feel energized," Rapino said. "We believe there are two groups that are gaining strength in the music business: the artist and the fans, and Live Nation fits directly in between them."

Rapino added during the call that Live Nation intends to pursue the sale of its North American theatrical division.

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