We were formed through acquisitions of various entertainment businesses and assets by our predecessors. In August 2005, we were incorporated in our current form as a Delaware corporation to own substantially all of the entertainment business of Clear Channel. In December 2005, the separation of the business previously conducted by Clear Channel’s live entertainment segment and sports representation business, and the distribution by Clear Channel of all of our common stock to its stockholders, was completed in a tax-free spin-off. Following our separation from Clear Channel, we became a separate publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange trading under the symbol “LYV”. As of January 25, 2010, in connection with our merger with Ticketmaster, we changed our name from Live Nation, Inc. to Live Nation Entertainment, Inc.
We believe that we are the largest producer of live music concerts in the world, based on total attendance at Live Nation events as compared to events of other promoters, producing nearly 22,000 concerts for 2,000 artists in 42 countries during 2009. In 2009, over 52 million fans attended Live Nation concerts and the Company drove over 70 million unique visitors to www.livenation.com and our other online properties. Globally, Live Nation owns, operates, has booking rights for and/or has an equity interest in 142 venues, including House of Blues ® music venues and prestigious locations such as The Fillmore in San Francisco, the Hollywood Palladium, the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam and the O2 Dublin.
On February 10, 2009, we entered into a merger agreement with Ticketmaster. The Merger closed on January 25, 2010 and, pursuant to the merger agreement, Ticketmaster became our wholly owned subsidiary.
On February 1, 2010, LMC Events, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Media, filed a Tender Offer Statement on Schedule TO, or the Schedule TO, with the SEC to purchase up to 34,200,000 shares of our common stock at a purchase price of $12.00 net per share in cash, or the Tender Offer.
Our principal executive offices are located at 9348 Civic Center Drive, Beverly Hills, California 90210 (telephone: 310-867-7000). Our principal website is www.livenation.com. Live Nation is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol “LYV”.
MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
In February 2009, we announced our planned merger with Ticketmaster which we believe will allow the combined company to capitalize on strategic advantages and other opportunities created by combining a global concert business, global ticketing operations and an artist management company, including lowering costs and developing new distribution platforms and new revenue streams (through sponsorships and increased sales and distribution opportunities), based on our belief that the Merger would produce a vertically integrated combined company that would be positioned to address the challenges of serving artists and fans better through improved ticketing options, dynamic promotion arrangements and greater transparency with respect to ticket pricing. This merger was completed in January 2010.
In 2009, prior to the completion of the Merger, our mission was to maximize the revenue generated by the live concert experience driven by serving three clients—artists, fans and sponsors. During the year, we continued to execute on our strategy to improve and build our core business. The highlights for each of our segments for 2009 were:
North American Music
• We improved our profitability per event by our continued focus on our key profit drivers from our shows. In 2009, as compared to the prior year, these results included:
• An 8% increase in ancillary revenue per fan at our owned and/or operated amphitheaters to $17.85 per fan; and
• A 10% decrease in our average operating costs per fan and a 14% decrease in our average marketing costs per fan at all of our promoted events during 2009, each resulting primarily from our cost-saving initiatives.
• In North American Music, we saw the impact in 2009 of our focus on reducing our less profitable events, thereby lowering our overall show count. This is reflected in the drop in the number of shows by 923, or 9%, to a total of 9,454 promoted events, with only a 2.4 million drop in total attendance since attendance per event increased by 2%.
• We continue to focus on reducing the number of unsold seats at events through various marketing concepts. In 2009, this included a new program to buy tickets to our events through our ‘No Service Fee Wednesday’ promotion. Through this program, we helped our fans buy tickets at a lower total cost while selling seats that might have otherwise been unsold. In 2009, we sold 859,000 tickets to our shows through this program.
• In February 2009, we opened our new House of Blues club in Boston, bringing our total number of House of Blues clubs to twelve.
• We delivered a strong show line-up for 2009 in International Music as demonstrated by the 4% increase in events over 2008 to a total of 4,391 promoted events.
• In 2009, attendance at our concerts internationally increased by 2.7 million, or 22%, to 14.8 million driven by an increase in the number of stadium and other outdoor concerts, including multiple sell-out concerts by U2, Madonna, Coldplay and Blur, among others.
• International Music also had a very strong festival season with an overall increase in attendance driven by Rock Werchter in Belgium, T in the Park, Reading and Leeds in the United Kingdom and Lowlands and North Sea Jazz in the Netherlands.
• We added to our international portfolio through the acquisition of an additional AMG venue in Glasgow, Scotland and through an exclusive promotion agreement with BIG Concerts International in South Africa.
• Since the beginning of 2009, we have sold 12.6 million tickets globally, including 1.7 million tickets sold in the fourth quarter of 2009. This total for the year includes 2.3 million in tickets sold internationally for which our Ticketing segment does not earn any service charges. An additional 2.5 million tickets were also sold at our venue box offices directly, for which the service charges, if any, are reported by North American Music.
• Livenation.com continued to gain momentum during the year with a new milestone achieved in July 2009 when we were ranked 5th by Nielsen NetView among the most-visited domestic music websites, with 5.0 million unique visitors in the month.
• Traffic to our website increased by 55% in 2009 as compared to last year. This increased awareness of livenation.com as a key source for concert events and tickets was partially driven by our ‘No Service Fee Wednesday’ promotion during 2009 that also helped to sell more tickets to events in North America.
• As of December 31, 2009, we have 853 local, national and international corporate sponsors, including O2, Blackberry and Citi®. Sponsorship revenue increased to $181.0 million in 2009 as compared to $170.9 million in 2008.
• Global tours for 2009 included U2, Madonna and Il Divo. Madonna’s Sticky and Sweet tour during 2008 and 2009 was the largest tour ever for a female touring artist in terms of revenue. U2’s 360 tour that began in 2009 was ranked the top grossing tour for 2009 by Pollstar.
• We completed the divestiture of our U.K. theater operations in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Our Separation from Clear Channel
We were formed through acquisitions of various entertainment businesses and assets by our predecessors. In August 2005, we were incorporated in our current form as a Delaware corporation to own substantially all of the entertainment business of Clear Channel. In December 2005, the separation of the business previously conducted by Clear Channel’s live entertainment segment and sports representation business, and the distribution by Clear Channel of all of our common stock to its stockholders, was completed in a tax-free spin-off. Following our separation from Clear Channel, we became a separate publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange trading under the symbol “LYV”.
Our reportable segments are North American Music, International Music and Ticketing. Prior to 2009, we reported an Artist Nation segment, which is now allocated between the North American Music and International Music segments. This change has been made to be consistent with the way we are now managing the business. Our business formerly reported as Artist Nation includes the promotion and/or production of global tours and also provides other services to artists. These artist relationships tend to be long-term and typically involve multiple revenue streams for an artist. We enter into these relationships in order to fill the distribution platform of our businesses with recurring events, both domestically and internationally. This is not a separate part of these businesses but rather is just one more facet of our North American Music and International Music segments. Therefore, we are now allocating these activities based on where the profits for services to these artists are being generated.
North American Music
Our North American Music segment principally involves the promotion of live music events in our owned and/or operated venues and in rented third-party venues and the operation and management of music venues primarily in the United States and Canada, as well as providing various services to artists. While our North American Music segment operates year-round, we experience higher revenue during the second and third quarters due to the seasonal nature of shows at our outdoor amphitheaters, which primarily occur May through September.
To judge the health of our North American Music segment, we primarily monitor the number of confirmed events in our network of owned and/or operated and third-party venues, talent fees, average paid attendance, total revenue per fan and advance ticket sales. In addition, at our owned and/or operated venues, we monitor attendance, ancillary revenue per fan, premium seat sales and corporate sponsorship sales.
Our International Music segment principally involves the promotion of live music events in our owned and/or operated venues and in rented third-party venues, the operation and management of music venues and the production of music festivals outside of North America. While our International Music segment operates year-round, we experience higher revenue during the second and third quarters due to the seasonal nature of our international festivals, which primarily occur June through August.
To judge the health of our International Music segment, we primarily monitor the number of confirmed events in our network of owned and/or operated and third-party venues, talent fees, average paid attendance and advance ticket sales. In addition, at our owned and/or operated venues, we monitor attendance and ancillary revenue per fan. Because this business is conducted in foreign markets, we look at the operating results from our foreign operations on a constant dollar basis.
Our Ticketing segment manages our digital platform and Live Nation’s ticketing activities. This segment is involved in managing our internal ticketing operations and online distribution activities, including the ongoing enhancement of our primary website, www.livenation.com, and our information technology operations.
To judge the health of our Ticketing segment, we primarily review the number of tickets sold through our ticketing operations, the percentage of visitors to our website that buy tickets, the number of unique visitors to our websites and the overall number of customers in our database.
At December 31, 2009, we employed approximately 4,300 full-time employees who are dedicated to providing first-class service to our artists, fans and corporate sponsors. Many of our employees have decades of experience in promoting and producing live concerts, as well as operating live music venues.
We are required to file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC. You may read and copy any materials we have filed with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549. You may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. Our filings with the SEC are also available to the public through the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
You can find more information about us at our internet website located at www.livenation.com. Our Annual Report on Form 10-K, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to those reports are available free of charge on our internet website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with the SEC.