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Live Nation share price hits all-time high

Stock surges 16% after company's glowing Q3 results as chairman and CEO Michael Rapino predicts record 2022

By James Hanley on 05 Nov 2021

Live Nation's Michael Rapino is backing MITC's ‘Touring and Mental Health Manual’ and Tour Support for World Mental Health Day 2019

Michael Rapino


Live Nation‘s share price has rocketed to an all-time high less than 24 hours after the firm released its Q3 financial results.

Stock in the company was up 16% to $122.13 at press time, having peaked at $125.88 earlier in the day following chairman and CEO Michael Rapino’s bullish projections during yesterday’s earnings call. The share price broke $100 for the first time only last month.

Rapino told investors that 2022 was on track to be a record year after the company reported revenue of $2.7 billion (€2.3bn) for the quarter. He said ticket sales for the 2021 summer season “reflected tremendous pent-up demand”, with 17 million fans attending Live Nation shows.

The promoter, which recorded a $19.8m loss for the same period in 2020, returned to positive operating income and AOI for the first time in two years, with a company-wide operating income and AOI of $137 million and $306m, respectively.

“Festivals were large part of our return to live this summer with many of our festivals selling out in record time, and then overall ticket sales for major festivals was up 10% versus 2019,” said Rapino, who referenced upcoming sell-out tours by Harry Styles and Chris Stapleton.

“Through mid-October, we have already sold 22 million tickets for our shows in 2022 and demand has been stronger than ever for many of these on sales, with a million tickets sold for each of the Coldplay and Red Hot Chili Peppers tours, and several other tours already selling over 500,000 tickets,” he added.

No industry has so proven the durability of its demand in the face of such disruption

Live Nation’s Ticketmaster division, meanwhile, delivered revenue of $374.2m for the quarter and has already sold 65m tickets for next year.

“As we get close to turning the page in 2021, I remain more convinced than ever in the power and potential of live entertainment, and the strength of our position,” added Rapino. “No industry was more impacted by the pandemic over the last two years, and no industry has so proven the durability of its demand in the face of such disruption.

“I fully expect we will continue to have bumps in the road in the coming months. And it will take some time for international artists to be touring on a truly global basis. But the fundamental strength of live entertainment and Live Nation has proven out and expect we will only continue to grow from here.”

Speaking on the company’s earnings call, Live Nation president and chief financial officer Joe Berchtold said the resurgence had been driven by the UK and US.

“These markets accounted for 95% of our fans in Q3 versus 75% in Q3 of 2019,” he said. “And they represented 90% of fee-bearing GTV in Q3 versus 80% in Q3 of 2019.”

With concerts in North America and the UK already back in full flow, Rapino discussed when the rest of the world was likely to open up.

The good news is ’22 is going to probably be a record year

“Europe will be fully open by the end of the year, so we’ll have most of the main markets open into January,” he said. “Pacific Rim, Latin America, all looks positive in terms of being open fully for international artists by April. We think internationally, on a global basis, by April the world will be moving around again.

“It doesn’t overly affect our business short-term because most of the outdoor stadium festival business is summer time, so that will be all fully up and rolling. We have Lollapalooza starting in April in Latin America and Australia festivals. So we think we’ll be open for prime season and we’ll be rolling around indoors in the main markets of US, Europe, Canada, and the UK between now and April.”

Rapino also expanded on his expectations for 2022 and beyond.

“The good news is ’22 is going to probably be a record year, but there’s only so many Fridays and Saturdays and artists are pretty smart about how they route their tours and how they look at the world and find their right positioning, so it kind of self-regulates itself,” he said.

“You’re never going to have a bunch of tours on the same weekend piled on. So that just meant we have a more inventory to spread into ’22, ’23, and we’re talking ’24 now. So I would say we have a backlog that needs to still work through the system in ’22, ’23, which will be incredibly strong years. And then we continue to get back to regular.

“We’ve had over the year, double-digit growth in the live entertainment space ongoing. We project that to continue both on pricing and global volume as demand and supply continues to grow around the world.”

In a further sign that investor confidence in live music is returning, shares in CTS Eventim have risen from €63 to €72 since the start of the week.

 


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