Live Nation Buys A Mirage

Live Nation has reached an agreement to acquire a 65 percent interest in Mirage Promotions, the Dubai-based live music company owned by Elissa Murtaza.

Mirage will re-brand under the Live Nation banner within 30 days, according to a company statement, with Murtaza continuing to run the company.

"Our new partnership with Live Nation will help us accelerate our growth by providing us better access to talent and resources," Murtaza said.

LN CEO of international music Alan Ridgeway said with the announcement, "The launch of our Dubai office is another milestone in our organisation’s expansion into international territories," echoing sentiments he relayed to Pollstar upon his promotion in August.

"Dubai’s population alone is expected to reach 1.6 million by 2010. There is now significant demand for live entertainment in the region and the world’s top artists are more interested in playing there," Ridgeway added.

Prior to the February 15th announcement, Murtaza had declined to comment on Mirage’s future apart from saying fundamental changes were in store.

GM Thomas Ovesen left Mirage two weeks ago, saying he was leaving the business to "lie on the beach and listen to my iPod," and stressing that his departure had nothing to do with any impending changes.

Murtaza admitted the changes would involve all or a large part of the company being sold to a new investor, and LN was believed to be the most likely purchaser.

Murtaza founded Mirage in Bahrain 12 years ago. As the Emirates and surrounding regions became the destination for more international touring acts, she developed the company to the level that it promoted shows from the likes of Shakira, Ricky Martin, Mary J. Blige, Phil Collins, Destiny’s Child, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey to Craig David.

The company also represents Mathew Knowles’ Music World Entertainment acts, including his daughter Beyoncé, for the Middle East and North African regions, plus Russia, Greece, Turkey, India and Pakistan.