Live Nation has consolidated its Scandinavian promoting business by buying the remaining 51 percent of Swedish concert promoter Luger.
The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed but Luger will remain in the Stockholm offices it moved into in 2005 and will continue to operate as a separate company.
The announcement came two days after the two companies co-promoted the new one-day Where The Action Is festival, which attracted an 18,000, near-capacity crowd to the Stockholm University campus June 14.
The bill included Foo Fighters, Queens Of The Stone Age, The Hives, Dirty Pretty Things, Dinosaur Jr., The Hellacopters, Mando Diao and Sahara Hotnights.
The event had originally caused controversy in the Swedish live music market and prompted national newspaper stories because it was on the same weekend as the cash-strapped Hultsfred Festival.
Many saw it as Live Nation’s tit-for-tat response to AEG poaching two key LN-EMA Telstar bookers (David Maloney and Mikael Tillman) and buying Supreme Royal Deluxe, the company that handles Hultsfred booking. The purchase effectively wrestled the event’s programming away from LN.
"Maybe we’re going to do something on our own but nothing is decided. But there’s no war going on between Swedish festivals," Thomas Johansson, EMA Telstar chief and LN chairman of international business, said in an interview with Sweden’s Barometern.
He told Pollstar he’s "far too old to be getting back at people" and the new festival appears to have made little difference, as the June 12-14 Hultsfred crowd was a little up on last year.
EMA Telstar bought 49 percent of Luger in 1998 for a little more than the three founders – Ola Broquist, Patrick Fredriksson and Morgan Johansson – paid for the entire company a year earlier.
Johansson said the move was prompted by the fact that "we felt it was a good addition to our team as they had a great insight into certain acts."
"It’s proved to be an extremely important company to us on both the domestic and international fronts," he said, as Luger grew to promoting arena-sized shows with acts including Eminem and Coldplay.
Luger was originally formed with Backbeat Bolaget, a partially government-funded cultural organisation based in Sandviken about 15 miles inland from the country’s northeast Baltic seaboard. From having no real stake in the company, Broquist, Fredriksson and Johansson managed to buy it all by 1997.
Luger also has the Way Out West festival in Gothenburg and the Accelerator festivals. Since Niklas Jonsson, formerly with Supreme Royal Deluxe, joined at the end of last year, it has started programming more of the country’s smaller but important festivals including the indoor Umeå Open and Stockholm’s Propaganda.
Moondog Entertainment – Luger’s management wing – looks after The Hellacopters, José González, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Caesars, Les Big Bird and Jonas Game.