Live Nation Entertainment has completed the acquisition of a controlling stake in C3 Presents in a blockbuster deal that combines the might of the world’s biggest live-events promoter with a festivals juggernaut that was, until now, the largest independent concerts company in its space.
Neither party revealed financial terms behind the deal, but sources told Billboard in recent months that LN was paying in the region of $125 million for a 51% stake in C3 Presents.
C3 Presents, which was founded in 2007 by its management team of Charles Attal, Charlie Jones and Charlie Walker, is the promoter behind the Austin City Limits Music Festival; Lollapalooza festivals in Chicago, Chile, Argentina and Brazil (in which Perry Farrell and William Morris Endeavor Entertainment are partners); Orion in Atlantic City, N.J.; Counterpoint in Rome, Ga.; LouFest in St. Louis; Wanderlust; and the Big Day Out tour in Australia, which is not on the calendar for 2015.
“The Charlies have proven they are amongst the most successful entrepreneurs in the concert industry. I have long admired what they built and now I look forward to working alongside them as they continue to build a world class festival company,” said Michael Rapino, president and chief executive officer, Live Nation Entertainment, in a statement. “Adding C3, the leading festival portfolio in North America, to our global portfolio of Insomniac, Festival Republic and Country Nation provides Live Nation with the world’s largest festival platform.”
C3 reported grosses totaling $124 million from more than 800 shows in 2013. For the first nine months of 2014, Live Nation’s revenue rose 9 percent to $5.23 billion and adjusted operating income — operating income without the affects of one-time and extraordinary items — rose 11 percent to $482.7 million. Bob Roux, co-president of North American concerts for Live Nation, the world’s largest live-event promoter, recently told Billboard his company sold more than 25 million tickets this year in the United States alone.
In a joint statement, Attal, Jones and Walker added, “We are excited to join Live Nation and become a part of their global family, while continuing to grow our festivals within a culture of entrepreneurship that will empower our team to keep improving these festivals and the fan experience.”
LionTree Advisors advised Live Nation and The Raine Group, which invested in C3 in 2012, advised on the transaction.
LN’s new asset gives the group much-needed muscle in the North American festivals arena. While revealing LN’s solid third-quarter numbers in October, Rapino hinted at what the acquisition meant for his company’s portfolio of interests. “We’ve been very clear we’ve been underserviced in our festival business in the U.S., [which leaves] a big hole in our business which really drives our ticketing and sponsorship,” said Rapino. “I can’t comment on the rumors, but it would make sense we’d be looking to acquire a strong festival company in the U.S. … and we’re going to continue to evaluate.”