UPDATE 1-Live Nation profit rises on strong summer concerts

Fri Nov 7, 2008 4:44am IST

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 * Q3 EPS $1.67 vs $0.49 year ago
 * Rev and profit boosted by strong summer concerts
 * Profit boosted by tax benefit and sale gain
 (Adds CEO comment, profit details)
 By Yinka Adegoke
 NEW YORK, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Concert promoter Live Nation Inc
(LYV.N) posted a higher third-quarter profit on Thursday, as
consumers flocked to outdoor summer concerts even in a slowing
economy.
 The company said sales growth was driven by an increase in
the number of events, attendance, ancillary revenue per attendee
and average ticket prices, though these were partly offset by a
decrease in arena events in North America, which accounts for
around half of revenue.
 "Despite challenging times, millions of fans have continued
to attend live concerts to support their favorite artists,"
Chief Executive Michael Rapino said in a statement.
 Live Nation, which is moving more directly into selling
tickets and signing artists for recording contracts, said its
third-quarter net income rose to $139.9 million, or $1.67 a
share, from $41.6 million, or 55 cents a share, a year ago.
 The quarter's profit was boosted by a $58 million tax
benefit and a gain on the sale of its motor sports unit in
September to privately held Feld Entertainment.
 Excluding the tax benefit, Live Nation's profit would have
been 55 cents a share. That appeared to beat the average analyst
forecast of 49 cents, though it was not clear if the figures are
directly comparable, according to Reuters Estimates.
 Revenue rose 9.4 percent to $1.59 billion. David Joyce,
analyst at Miller Tabak, said that was a little ahead of his
$1.56 billion estimate due to the strong showing at Live
Nation's North American music as well as international
business.
 Live Nation has put in place a strategy to diversify its
revenue streams within the music business and improve on the low
margins typically seen in the promotions business.
 In the last year, it made headlines by signing several
prominent artists including Jay-Z, Madonna, Shakira and
Nickelback to so-called 360 degree contracts that cover the
artists' concert promotion, merchandising and recording.
 In the process, the Los Angeles-based company has ruffled
the feathers of some music industry insiders while also
receiving support from others who believe the sector needs a
shakeup to survive.
 Live Nation's biggest move has been its strategy to handle
concert ticketing by itself, ending a long alliance with
Ticketmaster TKTM.O in January 2009. Ticketmaster was recently
spun off from parent IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI.O).
 Shares were unchanged from their close of $10.09 on the New
York Stock Exchange.
 (Reporting by Yinka Adegoke, editing by Matthew Lewis)




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