Warner Buys Vivo

Warner Music Group has upped its involvement in the Italian live music business by buying Vivo, the national promoter formerly owned and run by brothers Corrado and Sandro Rizzotto.

It’s not been made public what the deal is worth and at press time it wasn’t possible to get comment from the Rizzottos.

Vivo, which will move from Pordenone to Warner’s offices in Milan, will work alongside Friends & Partners, the venture the record company sent up with Ferdinando Salzano in 2008.

Vivo, formerly called Indipendente, has promoted national tours for acts including Radiohead, Amy Winehouse, Sigur Ros, The Killers, Coldplay, Arcade Fire and Franz Ferdinand, along with Warner Music acts such as Paolo Nutini and Muse. Last year it did Muse’s gig at Milan’s 60,000-capacity San Siro stadium.

It also produces Bands Apart Festival and I-Day Festival, which this year reaches its 11th edition with a lineup including Kasabian and Arctic Monkeys.

“Since we first met with Massimo Giuliano and Warner Music it has been clear we share the same vision for the future,” Vivo managing director Corrado Rizzotto said in a statement.

“In recent times, the national and international live landscape has completely changed and we think that in order for Vivo to stay competitive we need to continue to grow. Warner Music is our ideal partner to develop our activities, while keeping our independent spirit,” he said.

The deal also makes Warner a major player in the Italian live music market as it’s covering both international touring acts and the huge market for domestic talent.

While the Rizzotto brothers have mainly focused on international artists, Salzano’s company has provided a wide range of artist services to Italian acts such as Ligabue, Laura Pausini, Zucchero, Alessandra Amoroso, Biagio Antonacci and Elisa.

It also increases the number of Italian promoters owned by American corporations, coming only eight months after Live Nation strengthened its hand in the country by buying Andrea Pieroni’s Florence-based Live In Italy, one of the country’s foremost promoters of rock and metal music.

Pieroni and the Rizzottos briefly set up their own joint venture in 2002 – provisionally called Live And Kicking – but soon the companies returned to their separate independent ways.

Warner Music Italy chairman and chief exec Massimo Giuliano said the deal is a natural move as it builds on “the existing co-operation” between the two companies.

Warner Music Europe chief exec John Reid hinted that the purchase of Vivo, which comes six months after the French division of the company bought Salomon Hazot’s Nous Productions, isn’t the end of his expansion plans.

He described the deal as “another significant step” in the transformation of the company’s role in the European music value chain.

Hazot hung on to his festivals, which this year will include Rock En Seine and the first French staging of Sonisphere.