This Week In Tin-Foil Hattery

A few juicy conspiracy theories are floating around right now with Live Nation the common theme. Let’s go over them and see if they all come together.

Maxim Group recently made a supposition as to why Liberty Media keeps buying Live Nation stock: to acquire it. And the media group may have the financial leverage to do it because it recently was awarded nearly $1 billion in a 10-year lawsuit versus Vivendi. Liberty claimed Vivendi waited until its transaction with USA Networks and Liberty Media officially closed before reacting publicly to a downgrade of its debt rating and addressing surrounding concerns about liquidity.

Vivendi, of course, will appeal the $956 million decision, which was handed down by a U.S. District Court jury June 25.

But even though the sum will likely be reduced on appeal, the total sum will still be significant. And if Liberty Media decides to purchase Live Nation, there is a next step that has been talked about at water coolers for sometime: to take the concert promotion and ticketing company private.

Further down the rabbit hole, one arrives at MSG, which recently purchased Los Angeles’ aging but still viable Forum. On the Live Nation board sits James Dolan, MSG executive chairman. That’s because when Live Nation bought a substantial equity in Irving Azoff’s Front Line Management, it had to buyout another partial Front Line owner – MSG. (The tangled web includes Front Line client J.D. & The Straight Shot, the band fronted by none other than harmonica man James Dolan).

MSG could have asked for a cash payout but instead asked for Live Nation stock, making MSG a 2.1 percent owner and putting Dolan on the board. Analyst Robert Routh of Phoenix Partners Group called it a possible “harbinger,” according to The Deal magazine. Routh suggested the two companies could work together, with MSG building Front Line artists through their smaller circuit of venues before Live Nation took the clients through their vast network of live performance spaces.

There are plenty of scenarios to chew on.

Madison Square Garden has a market cap of $2.74 billion and Live Nation $1.67 billion, but both are dwarfed by Liberty Media, which has a market cap of $10.17 billion.

What if Liberty buys everything? The company would not only own Live Nation’s intimidating list of venues, but the Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Chicago Theatre and The Forum, too, among others. Talk about a One World Government.