Live Nation’s Acquisition of Leading Mexican Promoter OCESA Now on Hold

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Courtesy of Live Nation


Live Nation blockbuster $480 million purchase of a controlling interest in Mexican promoter OCESA Entretenimiento has been put on hold because of the COVID-19 crisis, Live Nation chief executive Michael Rapino announced Thursday (May 7) on its first quarter earnings call.

The acquisition, which was first announced in July, was approved by Mexican regulators in in mid-April 2020, Rapino said, but the company is holding off on closing the transaction as it continues to “evaluate the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on OCESA’s business and operations” in Mexico and the rest of Latin America.

Live Nation officials are in discussions with owners CIE and Grupo Televisa, S.A.B. “regarding the timing and terms of the deal and have entered into a standstill agreement with them to facilitate those discussions” while reserving Live Nation’s rights under purchase agreement.

Live Nation and OCESA have been partners in Mexico for years, both in Ticketmaster and in touring and festivals. In 2018, OCESA/CIE was the highest-grossing Latin promoter on the Billboard Year-End Boxscore charts and the fourth highest grossing promoter overall. On the 2019 year-end charts, it was the third highest grossing promoter, only behind Live Nation and AEG, reporting $233.2 million in ticket sales for 936 events in front of 4.3 million fans.

“Longterm we’re still bullish on their business and ours, we want to be in business with OCESA and get the deal done, but we’re not sure where Mexico stands” with managing the COVID-19 crisis, Rapino told an analyst on the call. “I'm not looking to take on any losses from Mexico while they're going through their six or eight months of a business downturn and come out the other side. Ideally we'd want to get the deal done, we want to delay the cash payment of the deal until we know we are on the other side of this crisis -- that’s the intent.”