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LiveStyle out as Live Nation acquires Rock in Rio

Live Nation makes it six acquisitions in under five months with the purchase of a majority stake in South America's biggest music festival

By Jon Chapple on 02 May 2018

Bon Jovi at Rock in Rio 2017

Bon Jovi at Rock in Rio 2017

image © Fernando Schlaepfer/Rock in Rio

Less than nine months after opening its first dedicated Brazilian office, Live Nation has grown its presence in the South American festival market by acquiring a stake in Rock in Rio promoter Rock City.

Rock in Rio, established by Roberto Medina in 1985, is the largest festival in South America, as well as the second highest-grossing in the world, welcoming more than 700,000 attendees from 62 countries in 2017. Rock City also operates a sister event in Lisbon, and formerly in Las Vegas and Madrid.

“We are delighted to bring together the world’s biggest music festival with the largest entertainment company on the planet,” says Medina, Rock in Rio’s president, who will remain a “key stakeholder” in Rock in Rio, according to Live Nation, and continue to manage all aspects of production and consult across the business.

“The partnership will generate a number of synergies that will enable the realisation of even greater ambitions for Rock in Rio. We are two companies with a united global vision and the ability to achieve big dreams.”

Rock in Rio was formerly 40% owned by SFX Entertainment (now LiveStyle), and a Live Nation spokesperson tells IQ the company has acquired its stake from both the festival’s founding partners and the creditor committee for SFX, which filed for bankruptcy in February 2016. The deal will see Live Nation become the controlling shareholder by 2019.

“The partnership will generate a number of synergies that will enable the realisation of even greater ambitions for Rock in Rio”

According to a filing with the SEC, Live Nation paid US$34.8 million for a 50% stake in Rock City, and will later pay an additional $200,000 for a further 1%, giving it a controlling interest in the festival.

“Rock in Rio is a marquee event which set the standard for festivals in South America,” says Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino. “Roberto and his team have grown Rock in Rio to become a truly global event and the preeminent festival in the emerging live events market in South America.

“We look forward to integrating their industry expertise into the Live Nation business.”

Past Rock in Rio headliners include Queen, Prince, Guns N’ Roses, Neil Young, Iron Maiden, Elton John, Metallica, Stevie Wonder, Coldplay, Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones.

The deal is Live Nation’s sixth acquisition or equivalent in 2018, the most recent being New Zealand’s Rhythm and Vines festival.

The concert giant owns or operates more than 100 festivals globally, including the Lollapalooza franchise in Brazil, Chile and Argentina.


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