Analyst: Concert Business A-OK

Concert ticket sales are holding strong despite the weak economy, an analyst said Thursday, boosting shares of concert companies.

Thomas Weisel Partners analyst Benjamin Mogil wrote in a note to clients that meetings with concert promoter Live Nation earlier in the week reinforced his view that the company is seeing strength in ticket sales across multiple music genres despite consumer discretionary spending.

Through February, the company kept up with last year’s pace in terms of pricing and sales, Mogil said. He said he expects strong first-quarter results, which are to be released in May.

If the proposed merger with Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. is not approved, Mogil said Live Nation’s go-it-alone approach will continue to give it an edge in the industry.

Live Nation last year ended a long-term contract to sell its concert tickets through Ticketmaster, and it launched its own ticketing service for its venues in January.

That threatened to siphon off at least 15 percent of Ticketmaster’s revenue and set the two companies up for a head-to-head fight for ticketing contracts. But in February, they announced they had agreed to lay down arms and join forces.

Mogil kept the target price for Live Nation at $8.50 and held an “Overweight” rating on the stock.

In late trading Thursday, Live Nation shares rose 41 cents, or 13.3 percent, to $3.49, while Ticketmaster stock rose 57 cents, or 14 percent, to $4.64.