Live Nation Q4 Losses Widen

Live Nation Entertainment reported wider net losses on the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 2012 but beat Wall Street revenue predictions in earnings reports released Feb. 26.

LYV posted a net loss of $163 million or $0.87 per share for fiscal 2012, compared with a net loss of $83 million or $0.46 per share the prior year.

Operating expenses continue to drag down the bottom line, with Q4’s operating loss of $126.3 million nearly doubling the $66.7 million of 2011.

But if there is a silver lining, things looked rosier on the revenue side. Live Nation reported revenue of $1.44 billion in the three-month period and $5.82 billion for the year, versus estimates of $1.29 billion and $5.67 billion, respectively, as reported by Forbes.

Both numbers eclipse those posted one year ago, with Q4 revenue at $1.19 billion and year-end at $5.38 billion.

During an earnings call, Live Nation COO Joe Berchtold revealed the company took a $5.5 million writeoff related to the departure of former executive chairman Irving Azoff and 26 employees. Twelve artists also left the management wing, Artist Nation, which had primarily been run by Azoff.

Berchtold and CEO Rapino cited “a drop in the management business” and ongoing economic difficulties in southern Europe for at least part of the loss and LYV’s failure to meet Wall Street adjusted operating income projections. Another $62.7 million was recorded to write down certain client-vendor relationship assets.

Looking into the 2013 crystal ball, Rapino said presales are strong for tours that began or will begin in the new year. Among those expected to carry water this year are the Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z stadium caravan, Pink, Rihanna, Jimmy Buffett, and Maroon 5. The Country Megaticket package has already surpassed in presales the total tickets sold last year, Rapino added.

Photo: John Shearer/Invision/AP
On stage at the 55th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

“The tickets are in the pipe,” he said during the call. “It’s always good to have the wind at your back in Q1.”