Live Nation Posts $72.1M Gain

Live Nation has reported $516.6 million in revenues the first quarter of 2006 for an increase of $72.1 million, or 16 percent, over the same period last year. Included in revenue is a $9.1 million decline due to movements in foreign exchange.

Operating income for the quarter increased by $35.6 million to $8.1 million, including a $7.7 million gain from the sale of operating assets, according to a company statement. Net income also increased by $23.8 million to $1.1 million.

The 1Q results are also the first for the company as a free-standing corporation since its split from Clear Channel Communications in December. Stockholders responded to the announcement by pushing LN’s share price to $20.24 at day’s close May 5th, an all-time high and the first time share prices spiked above the $20 mark.

Live Nation shares have almost doubled in value since being issued December 29th.

OIBDAN, defined by the company as net operating income before depreciation, amortization or net sale of operating assets and non-cash compensation expense was $16.2 million during the first quarter, compared to a loss of $12.1 million in the same period in 2005.

“We delivered strong revenue growth in the quarter led by healthy gains across the majority of our businesses,” Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said. “With the reorganization of our company complete, and more efficient cost structure in place, we are now focused on aggressively executing our multi-pronged growth strategy.

“Our position as a global leader in live entertainment, our streamlined management team and our strong balance sheet provide us with a solid foundation from which to build our business. We believe we have and extraordinary opportunity to maximize the value of our assets, including our artist relations, our network of venues and the millions of fans who attend our events annually.”

So far, it’s shaping up to be strong summer season for Live Nation, with tours including Madonna, Nine Inch Nails, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Kelly Clarkson, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Shakira, Fiona Apple and Damien Rice plus festival favorites Ozzfest and the return of the Family Values Tour headlined by Korn. Other shed tours expected to do well include packages with Def Leppard and Journey, Chicago and Huey Lewis, and Poison with Cinderella.

“While it remains early in the implementation of our business plan, we are making progress across a wide spectrum of initiatives,” Rapino said of the 1Q results. “A culture of accountability is taking hold across our operations and we are actively pursuing higher margins and more profitable opportunities.

“As we enter our busiest season of the year, we are pleased with the overall trends we are seeing across our businesses. We are confident that we will demonstrate tangible progress in implementing our strategy as the year unfolds.”

Deborah Speer