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Live Nation ‘bidding on SMG’

Live Nation has reportedly submitted a proposal to buy venue management giant SMG.

The Pennsylvania-based company – whose venue portfolio, the world’s largest, includes some 500 arenas, stadia, theatres, amphitheatres and convention centres across North America, Europe and Asia – was recently put on the market by current owner Northlane Capital Partners, and is expected to sell for around US$750m.

According to SportsBusiness Journal, offers for SMG were due in yesterday, with Live Nation among the bidders. The two companies have a history of collaboration in ticketing and venue management, most recently on the planned Bristol Arena in the UK.

The acquisition of SMG would make Live Nation, already the world’s biggest promoter, a dominant player in venue management, especially in the European arenas market, where rival AEG Facilities is traditionally stronger.

It would, however, be subject to regulatory approval in multiple territories, as with Live Nation’s 2010 acquisition of Ticketmaster.

IQ has contacted Live Nation for comment.

 


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SMG on the market again

SMG, the world’s largest venue operator, has been put up for sale for the second time in two years.

The Pennsylvania-based company – whose giant venue portfolio includes some 500 arenas, stadia, theatres, amphitheatres and convention centres across North America, Europe and, most recently, China – could potentially sell for US$750m, according to SportsBusiness Journal, with investment firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Texas Pacific Group among those believed to be interested.

SMG is currently owned by Maryland-based Northlane Capital Partners, which in January acquired the assets of American Capital Equity III, a $1bn private-equity fund that includes SMG. American Capital, and the Capital III fund, were acquired by Ares Capital for $3.4bn last June.

Investment firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Texas Pacific Group are among the companies believed to be interested

One rival operation that won’t be buying SMG is Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff’s Oak View Group, which last month moved into venue management with the buy-out of Pinnacle Venue Services.

According to Leiweke, his company is barred from submitting a proposal: “We were told that we couldn’t bid,” he says. “I don’t know if it’s because of our purchase of Pinnacle or years of competing with [SMG when I was AEG CEO]. Who knows? So, we’ve stood down and are focused on growing Pinnacle. We’re proceeding with our own route.”

SMG declined to comment.

 


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