Live Nation is in negotiations to purchase 51 percent of the concerts and festival business of Austin-based independent promoter C3 Presents for about $125 million, Billboard has learned. Both C3 and Live Nation declined to comment for this story.
C3 Presents — the Austin-based promoter behind the just-ended 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 festivals in Australia — is the country’s largest indie in the space. The status of C3’s management division and ticketing division, Front Gate Ticketing, in this deal is unclear. C3 also owns a stake in the PR firm Fresh & Clean Media and Austin venues including Stubb’s and La Zona Rosa. C3 investors include Red Light Management founder Coran Capshaw and Raine.
Last year, C3’s Austin City Limits festival brought in $32.1 million and 375,000 people over its five days; this year’s edition wrapped up just Sunday. Lollapalooza is, according to Farrell, looking to expand beyond its Chilean, Brazilian and Argentinian iterations, with Canada topping the list and Europe also being eyed for a possible expansion.
C3 was founded in 2007 by partners Charlie Walker, Charlie Jones and Charles Attal and is the leading independent promoter in North America, capturing the Top Independent Promoter Award (U.S.) at the Billboard Touring Awards five times, including last year. C3 reported grosses totaling $124 million from more than 800 shows in 2013. The firm’s robust management division represents Bassnectar, Delta Spirit, Gramatik, John Popper, Nas, Thievery Corporation, the Whigs and several other acts.