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Global hails successful festival debut as profits rise

UK media group Global grew earnings 4.4% in 2016/17, reveal its latest set of accounts, following a "successful entry" into the competitive UK festival market

By Jon Chapple on 03 Jan 2018

South West Four 2017, Global

Global's South West Four 2017 in London

image © Graham Joy for South West Four

Global, the UK’s second-largest festival operator, recorded its eighth consecutive year of growth in 2016–17, increasing earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) 4.4% to £74.5 million.

Through its subsidiaries Global Festivals Ltd and Global Live Ltd, Global – formed by Ashley Tabor in 2007, and known primarily for most of its existence as Britain’s largest commercial radio operator – made several acquisitions of festival promoters in the year ending 31 March 2017, cementing its status as Live Nation’s nearest competitor for control of the UK festival market.

They were: Count of Ten (100% stake), on 4 June 2016; Broadwick Live, on 31 May 2016 (49% stake) and 20 September 2016 (a further 7.6%); Lock’n’Load Ltd (75.7%) and Waxarch Ltd (80.6%), both on 3 October 2016 (full story here); Victorious Festivals Ltd (65.5%), on 17 October 2016; and Lakeside Creatives Ltd (66%), The Hideout Festivals LLP (80%) and Moving Music Ltd (75%), all on 21 February 2017.

Global Festivals Ltd also absorbed Global 05699567 Ltd, a holding company formerly known as Ugly Duckling Investments Ltd, on 21 February.

The combined success of its radio business and its “successful entry in the festival sector” represented an “extremely successful year” for Global

The main reason for the increase in profitability was growth in commercial revenues. While Global director and CFO Darren Singer, in his preface to the Global group’s 2016/17 accounts, writes that the “full financial impact of these acquisitions will be reflected in the group’s 2017/18 financial results, because the majority of the acquired festivals took place before the group had acquired the festival entities”, the combined success of its radio business and its “successful entry in the festival sector” represented an “extremely successful year” for Global.

The accounts also reveal that one of Global’s motivations for getting into festivals is a weak advertising market, with a portfolio of music events allowing the company to offer “tailored solutions to advertisers, […] enhanced during the year with the addition of a number of music festivals.”

Total 2016/17 revenue was also up, to £302.6m – an increase of 9.6% on 2015/2016’s £276.2m – although Singer notes that the company “continues to make a statutory loss”.

IQ revealed last September that Global is scaling back its Global Live touring operation to focus on its festivals business, which holds an 8% marketshare in the UK less than two years after launch.


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