AEG And LN In Territory Wars

Anschutz Entertainment Group and Live Nation are both believed to be on the verge of announcing new acquisitions in the southern hemisphere.

AEG is expected to make a swift response to LN’s recent purchase of 65 percent of Dubai-based Mirage Promotions by teaming with Thomas Ovesen, Mirage’s general manager until the middle of January, to set up shop on the same patch.

Meanwhile, LN could be close to bringing Attie van Wyk’s Johannesburg-based Big Concerts into its international fold.

The AEG deal hardly comes as a surprise, as Ovesen, who’d been with Mirage for six years and was seen as the face of the company in Dubai, left to "lie on the beach and listen to my iPod."

He denied his move had anything to do with the "impending changes" in the Gulf region but, whatever was amiss, he’ll now be back running AEG’s interests in Dubai and the Middle East.

A statement announcing the new arrangement is expected to coincide with the opening of this year’s ILMC.

While AEG has been covering its rival’s moves in the Emirates and the neighbouring states, Live Nation looks to have moved on to South Africa and Big Concerts.

LN has traditionally negotiated acquisitions at ILMC, when most of the major players are in London. One example is in 2004, when company chief Michael Rapino, then CCE’s head of international development, cut deals with three of the major promoters in the old Eastern Bloc.

If talks with Big Concerts follow the same pattern, Live Nation International chief exec Alan Ridgeway and possibly Rapino himself – if he’s in London for the Live Nation promoters’ regular pre-ILMC gathering – could well be near to a handshake deal by the end of the March 7-9 weekend.

Again, if the Eastern Bloc deals are a guide, it will likely be autumn before the small print’s sorted and the deal’s announced.

Big Concerts is the likely target in South Africa, with a history for developing the market by bringing in top international talent.

If the deal goes through, it won’t be the first time van Wyk has sold the company. He sold to African Media Entertainment (AME) in the late ’90s and stayed on a management contract that expired that expired in 2002.

When it came to an end, AME sold the company back to him (for less) rather than carry on running it without him.

The list of acts Big Concerts has promoted in recent years includes Alicia Keys, R.E.M., Roger Waters, Jamiroquai, Bryan Adams, Simply Red, and Elton John.