Sources at Live Nation confirm the Department of Justice has cleared Live Nation’s $350 million acquisition of House Of Blues Entertainment. CEO Michael Rapino sent out an email to all Live Nation employees yesterday saying the transaction will close within the next two weeks.
Integration of the two companies is ongoing, and the future of the HOB brand, at least from the promoter/HOB Concerts side of the equation, has yet to be revealed. But with the HOB acquisition, Live Nation-already the world’s largest promoter and venue operator-adds key pieces to its amphitheater picture, gets an improved presence in the hot Canadian touring market and lands a vibrant club network.
In an earlier interview, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino told Billboard.biz that he plans to retain the HOB club brand. “This will really help us accelerate our plans to enter into that small to midsize music venue business,” he said, adding that Live Nation will be aggressive in opening new HOB clubs. “We will absolutely be able to provide the resources to help them achieve their vision of taking House of Blues clubs around the world,” Rapino said.
HOB operates 10 House of Blues clubs in such cities as Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Chicago; San Diego; Orlando, Fla.; and Atlantic City, N.J., and eight amphitheaters in Atlanta, Toronto, Denver, Seattle, Dallas, Cleveland, San Diego and Los Angeles. Live Nation can now claim a total of about 50 sheds.
In the earlier interview, Rapino did not seem overly concerned about antitrust issues. “Every day there are more and more venues in the marketplace,” he said. “We think there are still lots of opportunities for bands and the consumers to see bands in venues everywhere.”
The closing of the LN/HOB deal is sure to be a hot topic next week at the Billboard Touring Conference & Awards, Nov. 8-9 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. More than 50 Live Nation and House Of Blues executives are registered for the conference, including Rapino.
“We are excited about continuing to build the great brand HOB brand throughout the world,” Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino tells Billboard.biz. “It will provide Live nation with a great mid-size music business to compliment our music venue portfolio.”