LN Buys Into Croatia

In its first expansion in southeastern Europe in almost eight years, Live Nation has bought 25 percent of Zagreb-based Adria Entertainment.

It’s far from a controlling interest, but the terms of the deal entitle LN to increase its share. Neither side is saying how much cash was involved.

It’s also the U.S.-based company’s first expansion in the old Eastern Bloc since 2004, when it bought Multimedia in Hungary, Interkoncerts in the Czech Republic and Odyssey in Poland.

LN’s investment creates a more solid base for a long-standing working relationship, which dates back six or seven years.

“It takes our co-operation to another level,” Adria chief exec Vladimir Ivankovic explained.

“Croatia is becoming an increasingly popular touring location for artists and we are happy to join forces with an established partner in a growing music market,” said LN president and chief exec Michael Rapino.

Ivankovic, formerly an accountant for Balkan regional promoter Marijan Crnaric, started trading under the Lupa umbrella – a family-owned company – in 2006.

Since then he’s worked as LN’s local representative in Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia, while also booking shows into the region as an independent promoter.

Ivankovic says the new deal doesn’t prevent his firm – which last year consolidated its Lupa companies and changed its name to Adria – from continuing to work as an independent, as long as it doesn’t involve competing with LN.

Working with what’s now his business partner has seen Ivankovic develop from being an accountant to a full-fledged promoter. Adria is now generally recognised as being one of the most reliable live music companies in the Balkan region.

In 2009 Adria (then Lupa) co-promoted two 65,000-capacity sellout shows with U2 in Zagreb. Shows lined up for 2012 include Metallica in May and Red Hot Chili Peppers in August.