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WME’s former global head of music has unveiled a plan to bail out dozens of venues around the country by acquiring at least 51% of each business
By IQ on 28 Oct 2020
Marc Geiger has amassed a $75 million ‘war chest’ to bail out US venues that are struggling during the pandemic and help them to reopen.
WME’s former global head of music told The New York Times that he plans to invest in small venues and build an indie touring network to revive the live scene, using funds secured during an initial investment round.
“One of my favourite things in the world is to go to a club, be treated well and see an incredible band,” said Geiger, who left his role at WME in June after 17 years with the company.
“So I thought, ‘OK, I’m going to raise a bunch of money and I’m going to backstop all these clubs. I’m going to be a bailout solution for them, and I’m going to call the company SaveLive’.”
His proposal for SaveLive, which was founded with fellow former WME associate John Fogelman, is to buy at least 51% of the equity in those clubs and help them expand into regional forces once the live sector returns to full strength – which he expects to happen in 2022 when the pandemic will subside and “give way to a second Roaring Twenties, 100 years later.”
“The hope here is to create a network effect. To be a long-term backer, helper, grower of these businesses, and enjoy the wins”
“The hope here is to create a network effect. To be a long-term backer, helper, grower of these businesses, and enjoy the wins,” says Geiger, who insisted that his venue deals would be partnerships and that he would not seek to flip assets.
His primary backer, Jordan Moelis of Deep Field Asset Management, said: “We don’t see this as a distressed-asset play. We see this as a business-building play, a play to be a long-term partner and to be around for a long time.”
Geiger says he’s already negotiating with a number of venues around the country.
The news comes shortly after US president Donald Trump announced he was postponing negotiations on a new stimulus package which would’ve thrown the live sector a much-needed lifeline.
The ‘Heroes Act’ stimulus package includes the Save Our Stages Act, a US$10 billion grant programme designed to provide financial support for live venue operators, promoters, producers and talent representatives in the US.
The Democratic-controlled House passed the act on Thursday (1 October) but Trump says he won’t return to the negotiating table until after 3 November’s presidential election.
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