Live Nation closed out a rough six-day run for the company with it’s stock down 10.4 percent for the week and approximately the same amount for the year.
Friday’s drop wiped out a good chunk of the stock’s midweek rebound as volatility in the market over trade war concerns and a tech selloff made conditions difficult for the LYV stock to recover after a week of bad press. On Sunday (April 1), the New York Times published an article accusing the company of using intimidation tactics to win business for Ticketmaster — an accusation the company denies, arguing their superior technology and product roadmap is behind Ticketmaster’s 108% renewal rate for 2017.
The bad news worsened Wednesday (April 4) after a UK report found that on average, women at the company’s British operations were paid 46% less than men. At rival AEG, the number was almost equally as bad, with women making 43 percent less than their male counterparts.
On Friday (April 6), Live Nation was under attack again, this time by New Jersey congressman Bill Pascrell, a frequent critic of both Live Nation and its rival StubHub, who told the Times “Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s abuse of their monopoly power should be taken as a warning in the halls of the Justice Department.”
In a letter to the paper titled “Crack Down on Monopolies,” Pascrell referenced the 2010 merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, saying “the Obama administration was warned repeatedly that allowing the nation’s largest concert promoter to merge with its largest ticket provider would midwife an octopus that would strangle competition and squeeze consumers. Bipartisan coalitions of which I was a part practically begged regulators to halt the merger, to no avail.”
He also wrote that “the government must begin to act against concentrated power.”
Live Nation has yet to respond to the letter, but in a blog post shortly after the April 1 article in the Times, Ticketmaster President Jared Smith defended the company, saying “Live Nation is the most artist-focused company in the world, and misusing our relationship with artists to ‘settle scores’ with venues would be both bad business and counter to our core beliefs.”
Despite the rough week, analyst John Janedis with Jefferies maintains a buy rating for the stock, which he argues was partially brought down by a sensitive stock market, investors’ concerns about a possible tariff fight with China, rising inflation and the US’s spiraling national debt.