Live Nation has acquired a controlling interest in the touring division of Toronto-based Concert Productions International and a 50% interest in CPI’s Grand Entertainment division.
Live Nation has acquired a controlling interest in the touring division of Toronto-based Concert Productions International, or CPI, and a 50% interest in the Grand Entertainment division of CPI.
Grand Entertainment is best known as the worldwide promoter of the Rolling Stones, and is headed by pioneering concert industry veteran Michael Cohl, CPI’s CEO.
Cohl joins Live Nation’s Board of Directors in connection with the transaction, increasing the total number of company directors to 10.
The deal formalizes an existing arrangement whereby Live Nation touring arm TNA executes and provides financial backing for such Cohl projects as the Stones tours. Now instead of lining up individual projects, CPI and Live Nation are formal partners.
Cohl basically created the model for full service global touring, having produced some of the largest grossing tours in history, including the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and U2. CPI has also successfully created new revenue streams around the tours that it produces, such as VIP ticketing, fan clubs, merchandising and DVDs.
The deal reunites Cohl and Live Nation’s head of Global Touring and Music chairman Arthur Fogel, producer of the current Madonna and U2 tours. Live Nation predecessor SFX acquired TNA in April of 1999, with Cohl retaining the rights to work with the Stones and Fogel moving to the newly-formed entity that became Clear Channel Entertainment and ultimately Live Nation. SFX/CCE/Live Nation has financially backed Cohl’s Stones tours since 1999.
“For me it’s great, it’s like things have come full circle,” Fogel tells Billboard.biz. “Obviously, we’ve been working together before this deal went down, but it’s good to have Michael officially part of the family. I always enjoy his view of things and his counsel.”
CPI will continue to operate as a separate unit and will work in conjunction with Live Nation’s existing global touring division led by Fogel. CPI will spearhead Live Nation’s initiatives to secure rights to content beyond the live show, including recordings, films, DVDs and more.
Cohl began his career in 1969 as a local promoter of concerts and created CPI in 1973. He has worked on successful projects in most fields of entertainment - music, sports, theater (on and off Broadway and throughout North America), film and television. He developed the concept of “one promoter for the world,” working directly with the artist to strategize and route the tour, promote the dates and execute the shows. He then helped to develop aftermarket revenue opportunities including books, television shows, videos, films and merchandise, including the Stones’ hugely successful “Four Flicks” DVD.
Cohl is currently producing the Rolling Stones Bigger Bang tour, projected to be the top-grossing tour in history.
Cohl was given the first-ever Legend Of Live award at the 2004 Billboard Touring Conference.