Frank Productions, one of the largest independent promoters in the country, has sold a majority interest of their company to Live Nation in a blockbuster deal that brings Fred and Larry Frank into the Live Nation family. The sale is being finalized Thursday (Jan. 11) and is effective Feb. 1.
"The only way this works is if we treat it like a partnership," Larry Frank tells Billboard, noting the deal is a joint venture that has Frank Productions continuing to operate as a stand-alone brand. The acquisition means Live Nation will purchase the company's holdings in NS2, a Nashville promoter business co-owned by longtime promoter Darin Lashinsky, and Cmoore Live, which is co-owned by Boise, Idaho, promoter Chris Moore. Both NS2 and CMoore Live will continue to operate as stand-alone companies.
"I''ve known Larry and Fred since 1987 co-promoting shows in Milwaukee and I am very excited about this deal," Bob Roux, president of U.S. concerts tells Billboard. "We love empowering independent entrepreneurs and promoters to keep doing what they're doing with added resources and opportunities to turbocharge them to the next level."
Larry Frank says, "We've been at this four decades and both Fred and I aren't going anywhere.... We've experienced tremendous growth in the last year and this allows us to accelerate that growth even more. Now we have more tools in our toolbox and can continue using our model to work with more artists, venues and fans."
Fred Frank tells Billboard the acquisition talks started in the spring of 2017 after Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino reached out.
"We never met Michael Rapino until we received a phone call from him and we didn't know much about Live Nation besides competing with them on a daily basis," Fred Frank says. "Sitting down with Rapino and hearing his vision was a game changer for us. And as his partner, we retain independence. Nothing changes -- we keep our email addresses and our name on the door."
The Madison, Wisconsin, -based company was created by Larry and Fred Frank's father, Herb Frank, in 1965 and has built a strong business touring rock and pop shows throughout North America. Frank Productions owns several venues including the High Noon Saloon and the 2,500-seat Sylvee which is set to open in 2018 and is named after Larry and Fred's mother. Last year Frank Productions merged with fellow Madison, Wisconsin, indie promoters Matt Gerding and Scott Leslie of Majestic Live, bringing Madison’s Majestic Theatre and the Blue Note in Columbia, Missouri, to Frank Productions. Last year Frank Productions sold $51 million in tickets, according to Billboard Boxscore, with 202 shows and 789,621 tickets sold.
"This is going to be a textbook example of when two great companies come together and grow," Roux tells Billboard. "Michael Rapino and I are thrilled to begin working with the Franks and taking the companies to the next level."