Live Nation got through a tepid global economy to deliver strong growth in revenue and net profit in the third quarter.
Led by its concerts division, Live Nation's revenue increased 9.7% to $1.96 billion in the quarter from $1.79 billion in the prior-year period. Aided by acquisitions and increased attendance, the concerts division revenue grew 11.7% to $1.43 billion in the quarter. Revenue for the first nine months of 2012 was $4.38 billion, up 4.4% from $4.19 billion in the same period last year.
Net income attributable to Live Nation common shareholders was $57.9 million, or $0.31 per share, up from $0.28 per share in the third quarter of 2012. For the first nine months of 2012, Live Nation net income per common share was -$0.02, down from $0.09 a year earlier.
Adjusted operating income (AOI) was flat at $202.4 million compared to $203.6 million in the prior-year quarter. Driven by the Olympics and the Paralympics, Ticketmaster's AOI grew 51.2% to $82.1 million. Sponsorships and advertising AOI increased 12.3% to $74.1 million. Concerts AOI, however, fell 41.3% to $49.1 million.
Ticketmaster had a strong third quarter across nearly all categories. The number of tickets sold in the quarter increased to 36.07 million from 34.9 million. Concert tickets sold increased to 19.42 million from 18.3 million. Sports events were up to 6.7 million from 6.4 million. The company is off to a good fourth quarter. Global ticket sales in October were up 9% year-over-year.
The concert division had fewer events in the third quarter of 2012 than the third quarter of 2011 -- 5,182 versus 5,241. Estimated attendance in the quarter increased to 15.813 million from 15.517 million. Though nine months, the number of events has risen slightly to 15,688 through nine months compared to 15,580 in the prior-year period.
Live Nation expects to have a strong fourth quarter and finish the year with a mid-single digital increase in attendance. Ticketmaster sales are expected to be up in the low- to mid-single digits. CEO Michael Rapino said postponements and cancellations due to Hurricane Sandy were helped by storm's arrival on a Monday and would end up costing the company only "a few hundred thousand dollars."