Following some three years of speculation that a deal is in the works, sources have confirmed to Billboard that global promoter AEG Live is in final negotiations to acquire successful New York-based independent promoter Bowery Presents. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The development significantly impacts not only the New York concert scene but brings national implications as another successful promoter leaves the ranks of independents. Founded in 1993, Bowery has been a viable third promoter option in New York (with AEG and Live Nation), and has formed strong ties with artists, managers, and agents in moving acts up the venue ladder.
Bowery owns, operates or has exclusives with New York’s 575-capacity Bowery Ballroom, the 250-cap Mercury Lounge in New York, the 3,000-cap Terminal 5, the 250-cap Rough Trade, and Brooklyn’s 550-cap Music Hall of Williamsburg. Bowery also presents shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center, Brooklyn Bowl, and the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, N.Y.
Additionally, Bowery has aggressively expanded its operations in recent years, moving into Albany, N.Y., Boston (where it presents shows at Great Scott, The Royale and The Sinclair), Philadelphia (Union Transfer and other venues), and at the State Theatre in Portland, Me. Bowery has also dove into the deep South, with its Bowery South division promoting shows across Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala., and New Orleans.
Bowery will be the second notable New York independent to be bought out this year. Earlier this month, news came that Live Nation had acquired a majority stake in Founders Entertainment, producers of Governors Ball on Randall’s Island. New York and the Northeastern U.S. have been one of the most competitive territories between Live Nation and AEG Live, and the latter’s move with Bowery is a critical play outside the festival space. Though digitally-savvy, Bowery in many ways operates as an old-school promoter, focusing less on forging tour deals or getting into bidding wars with established acts and more on building loyalty with developing bands by taking risks early in their careers at the small venue level, hopefully building a significant number of these acts to the arena level.
An AEG/Bowery deal could be announced as early as next week, sources say. Representatives from AEG Live and Bowery Presents declined to respond to comment. Bowery partners include former Live Nation New York president Jim Glancy, who moved to Bowery in 2004; and John Moore, co-founder of Bowery with Michael Swier, who Glancy and Moore bought out several years ago.