Ridgeway Rubbishes German LN Stories

Live Nation international chief exec Alan Ridgeway says he’s amused by newspaper stories saying the company is planning to give up on the German market.

He says he has no idea who the source could be and was surprised to read the story, which began in German weekly business magazine Wirtschaftswoche and soon spread to the international music trade press.

He said to his knowledge none of the papers actually called Live Nation to check if the story was true.

“I’m amazed that a reputable German publication would listen to whoever has been talking and not even try to talk to us,” he explained.

Wirtschaftswoche’s source was given as an artist manager within the circle of former Live Nation Germany managing director Johannes Wessels.

“Ticketmaster Germany chief exec Klaus Zemke first brought it to my attention and asked whether we should release a statement, but we’re not inclined to comment on pure speculation,” Ridgeway told Pollstar. He said it’s “the sort of story that will soon blow over.”

Ridgeway has been looking to rebuild Live Nation in Germany since September, when Wessels – who only headed the company for six months – split and returned to running his own Hamburg-based Music Pool.

Earlier in the year, LN sold its 20 percent stake in German promoter Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur to majority shareholder CTS Eventim and opened up its own business in Hamburg with Wessels at its head. It didn’t work out.

There have since been several rumours concerning what LN will next do in Germany but selling the Lieberberg shares hasn’t ended the company’s working relationship with the country’s biggest concert tour promoter.

The stories about LN abandoning Germany coincided with tickets for Rihanna – its latest joint-venture with Lieberberg – being put on sale.

Ridgeway says he’s making progress with sorting out his company’s future in Germany, but the ongoing working relationship with Lieberberg means he’s not under any pressure to make an immediate announcement.

He also says he’s happy for that arrangement to continue and wouldn’t be drawn into discussing who may be the longer-term replacement for Wessels.