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Live Nation resumes acquisition of Ocesa for $444m

Live Nation has resumed its acquisition of Ocesa, the third-largest promoter in the world and the parent company of Ticketmaster Mexico.

The US$444 million deal, if completed, would give the world’s largest live entertainment company a 51% stake in one of its largest competitors, which dominates the Latin American market.

The acquisition, which was paused due to the pandemic, is now expected to close by late 2021 or early 2022, subject to regulatory approval.

Live Nation originally agreed to buy 51% of Ocesa for over $400m in summer 2019 but pulled out of the deal in May last year, just a month after Mexican competition regulators approved the deal.

Following the termination of the deal, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said that he was “long term, still bullish on [Ocesa’s] business and ours” but that Live Nation was “not looking to take on any losses from Mexico while they’re going through their six or eight months of business downturn”.

“Ocesa will play a pivotal role in putting together many incredible shows in Mexico and the rest of Latin America”

The joint sellers of the stake are the Inter-American Entertainment Corporation (Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento, or CIE) and Grupo Televisa, a media giant in the Spanish-speaking world.

Live Nation is reportedly buying a 40% stake in Ocesa from Grupo Televisa, and 11% of the concert promoter from CIE.

CIE will hold on to the remaining 49% minority stake in Ocesa. Live Nation is expected to hold back 7% of the closing price to cover any potential operating losses for several quarters.

“After serving as Live Nation’s touring, festival, and ticketing partner in Mexico for years, we know Ocesa is a stellar business with deep roots in live entertainment in Mexico,” says Michael Rapino, president and CEO, Live Nation Entertainment.

“Alex has built a remarkable company and as we continue to build on the return to live, Ocesa will play a pivotal role in putting together many incredible shows in Mexico and the rest of Latin America.”

“This deal gives us a unique opportunity to continue Ocesa’s 30-year contribution to the development of the Mexican live sector”

Alejandro Soberón Kuri, president and CEO of CIE, added: “We are extremely proud to finally join Live Nation. This is a natural evolution of our long-standing relationship and it gives us a unique opportunity to continue Ocesa’s 30-year contribution to the development of the Mexican live entertainment industry. Additionally, it will help us foster CIE’s commitment to the promotion of Mexican artistic talent abroad.”

Soberón Kuri will serve as CEO and sit on the board of the newly-formed joint venture. Rapino will become chairman of the venture’s board of directors.

Ocesa promotes more than 3,100 events for nearly six million fans annually across Mexico and Colombia and has a robust business portfolio in ticketing, sponsorship, food & beverage, merchandise, and venue operation – including 13 premier venues across Mexico with a collective capacity of nearly 250,000 seats.

Ocesa’s primary ticketing business, Ticketmaster Mexico, is a leading ticket company in Mexico.

 


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Live Nation pulls out of Ocesa acquisition [updated]

Updated (27 May): Live Nation confirmed in an SEC filing yesterday that the company has terminated its ‘material definitive agreement’ to acquire 51% of Ocesa after being unable to agree revised terms with CIE and Televisa.

“On May 25, 2020, Live Nation notified CIE that it was terminating the CIE purchase agreement as a result of CIE’s failure to comply with its contractual obligation to continue operating the target companies [Ocesa] in the ordinary course of business and the occurrence of a material adverse effect (as that term is defined in the CIE purchase agreement),” reads the 8-K form, dated 25 May, which appears to say CIE and Televisa’s failure to keep Ocesa operating as normal amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is grounds for cancelling the acquisition.

“Live Nation simultaneously notified TV that it was terminating the TV purchase agreement, which agreement may be terminated if the CIE Purchase Agreement is terminated for any reason.

“Live Nation has commenced binding arbitration proceedings, seated in New York, New York, before the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, seeking a declaratory judgment that it has properly terminated the CIE purchase agreement and that any obligations thereunder are excused on the grounds set forth above, among others.”

 


CIE, one of two parent companies of leading Mexican promoter Ocesa Entertainment, has told investors that Live Nation’s impending acquisition of Ocesa is no longer going ahead, after the US concert giant exercised “an alleged right to terminate” the agreement, one “with which CIE disagrees”.

Live Nation announced last July it intended to acquire 51% of Ocesa, which also owns Ticketmaster Mexico, from CIE and Televisa Group for a combined US$480 million, with the transaction expected to close by the end of 2019.

According to CIE, on 5 May (two days before Live Nation announced its Q1 2020 results) the parties signed a ‘standstill agreement’ that put the deal on hold; that agreement, reports Televisa, has now expired, with no agreement on terms of the acquisition reached.

CIE “will continue to analyse its alternatives and reserves all of its rights under the agreements executed in connection with [the] transaction and the applicable laws”, according to a notice filed by the company today (26 May) with the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV).

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino spoke about the deal during the company’s Q1 investor call, saying the company needed to pause the deal; while he is “long term, still bullish on [Ocesa’s] business and ours”, Rapino explained, Live Nation “is not looking to take on any losses from Mexico while they’re going through their six or eight months of business downturn” due to Covid-19, reports MBW.

“We want to delay the cash payment of the deal until we both know how and when we’re on the other side of this crisis,” he added. “So that’s the intent.”

Televisa – which owns 41% of Ocesa compared to CIE’s 11% – said on 7 May it agrees that Live Nation does not have the right to terminate the agreement unilaterally.

 


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Live Nation to acquire Ocesa stake in $480m deal

Live Nation is to acquire a majority stake in Ocesa Entertainment, the largest promoter in Latin America and the fifth-biggest by ticket sales globally.

The US concert giant will acquire 51% of Ocesa – which also owns Ticketmaster Mexico – from the Inter-American Entertainment Corporation (Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento, CIE), a vertically integrated entertainment group often described as Mexico’s Live Nation equivalent, and Televisa Group, the largest mass media company in the Spanish-speaking world. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year, pending regulatory approval.

Televisa will receive Mex$5.2 billion (US$273 million) for its 40% stake in Ocesa, along with a dividend of $350m (US$18.3m) on or before the deal’s closing, the company says. CIE, meanwhile, is selling an 11% equity stake, valued at $3.6bn (US$190m), and will retain 49% of Ocesa. In total, Live Nation will pay around US$480m for 51% of Ocesa.

Mexico City-based Ocesa placed fifth in Pollstar’s 2018 top 100 promoters chart, with 3.8m tickets sold, behind Live Nation, AEG Presents, Messina Touring Group and Germany’s Semmel Concerts. Meanwhile, Ticketmaster Mexico, which Ocesa has owned since 1991, is “comfortably the country’s biggest ticket seller”, according to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2018, and now claims 37m tickets sold annually.

Ocesa promotes around 3,100 shows every year, and also has interests in sponsorship, merchandise and food and beverage, while its 14 venues across Mexico have a collective capacity of 250,000. Live Nation is to also acquire an interest in Ocesa Seitrack, OCESA’s booking and artist management agency, CREA, a special and corporate event organiser, and Citibanamex Centre, an exhibition and convention venue in Mexico City.

“This next step is a logical extension for both our teams”

“We are extremely proud to join Live Nation,” says Alejandro Soberón Kuri, president and CEO of CIE. “This evolution of our long-standing relationship with Live Nation gives us a unique opportunity to continue Ocesa’s 30-year contribution to the development of the Mexican live entertainment industry. In addition, this will further foster CIE´s commitment to the promotion of Mexican artistic talent abroad.”

By IQ’s calculation, Ocesa is Live Nation’s 15th acquisition or equivalent of 2019, following Singapore’s One Production in January, Canada’s Embrace PresentsSpain’s Planet EventsTennessee’s Neste Event MarketingFinland’s BlockfestNorway’s Tons of Rock and Australia’s Moshtix (through Ticketmaster) in February, Belgium’s Antwerps Sportpaleis and New England’s Levitate in April, Denmark’s PHD Music and Los Angeles-based Spaceland Presents in May, Poland’s Go Ahead and Superfly’s share of Bonnaroo in June, and IMM’s stake in Rock in Rio earlier this month.

“Ocesa has been Live Nation’s touring, festival and ticketing partner in Mexico for years, and I admire the business Alex has built,” says Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation. “This next step is a logical extension for both our teams, and we look forward to working on many more shows together.”

Soberón Kuri will serve as CEO and sit on the board of the newly-formed joint venture, while Rapino will become chairman of its board of directors.

 


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