Robert Sillerman, SFX Entertainment Founder, Dies at 71

Robert F.X. Sillerman
AP Photo/Greg Campbell

Robert F.X. Sillerman

Robert F.X. Sillerman, the New York businessman who consolidated a number of U.S. promoter companies in the 1990s and created the company that would eventually become Live Nation, died Sunday of respiratory illness, Billboard has confirmed. He was 71.

Sillerman was a native of The Bronx, New York, and early on built a name as a radio and television station owner. By the 1990s, SFX broadcasting had grown into the seventh largest broadcasting company in the country. In 1997, he formed SFX Entertainment and bought up a number of U.S. concert promoters, including Ron Delsner's Delsener/Slater enterprises in New York and Pace Concerts in Houston. In 2000 for $4.4 billion he sold the SFX's concert business to Clear Channel, which eventually spun the company off into Live Nation.

In 2012 Sillerman relaunched SFX as an electronic music company, buying up EDM promoters including React Presents in Chicago and ID&T in Europe. That company filed for bankruptcy in early 2016 and, after Sillerman later stepped down, embroiled in a number of lawsuits. That company re-emerged as LiveStyle later that year.

Earlier this year, Sillerman agreed to pay a $179,000 fine to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for diverting company funds to personal accounts while misrepresenting celebrity endorsements and the financial health of his online publishing and entertainment business Function(x) to attract new investors.

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