Battle For LA’s Greek Continues

The fight for  enters its next round in Los Angeles Thursday at 8:30 a.m., with Live Nation needing one Recreation and Parks commissioner to change her vote to move forward on a concession contract, and Nederlander (and partner AEG Live) hoping to convince commissioners to reconsider the bidding process. 

Photo: Juan O’Campo
Nederlander staff show off The Greek Theatre's Pollstar Awards during a city commission meeting in Los Angeles Oct. 1. Nederlander delayed a vote to award control of the venue to Live Nation.

At stake is control of the iconic Greek Theatre – which has for the last nearly 40 years been operated by a Nederlander company. Live Nation stunned the Nederlander-AEG partnership when its bid was recommended by RAP staff in late September to the full commission for approval and start of negotiations on a 10-year, two-extension contract.

That hasn’t happened yet.

The commission postponed a vote on the matter at a meeting Oct. 2. It met again one week later before a packed house of supporters from both sides and, after some 130 public comments, failed to reach consensus – or, at least, not the required three affirmative votes needed to send the question to the L.A. City Council.

Another meeting was calendared for Oct. 23. In the meantime, Nederlander-AEG has continued to question the bid scoring, and Oct. 21 made public a letter revealing a rent abatement proposal included in Live Nation’s bid that it says is prohibited in the city’s Request For Proposals.

“Buried on page 378 of Live Nation’s proposal is an exception that would allow Live Nation to transfer some of its contractual risk to the City by requiring rent relief ‘commensurate with the estimated loss of revenue’ if Live Nation is unable to complete its capital improvement projects before the beginning of the 2016 season,” Nederlander CEO Alex Hodges said. “The simple fact is that the rent abatement clause significantly distorts the revenue proposal Live Nation submitted to the City, and, due to the strings attached should have resulted in their disqualification.”

Nederlander-AEG said Live Nation was able to sweeten the pot unfairly in its bid because it transferred financial risk to the city in the form of a prohibited rent relief exception, regardless of whether the language can be removed in contract negotiations.

A Live Nation spokeswoman was quick to respond to Nederlander-AEG’s allegation.

“The rent abatement language in no way limited the total $106 million financials. Live Nation clarified to RAP and the Commission that the company will pay the minimum guaranteed revenue share at all times,” Live Nation responded. “Live Nation’s guaranteed financial bid is at a minimum almost $10 million higher overall. Our total bid was scored significantly higher. Live Nation secured 91 percent of all points. Nederlander, 79 percent.

“Live Nation was the unanimous choice by every member of the judging panel. The City is embracing Live Nation’s vision and the fact we’re investing far more to deliver that vision. The facts are clear.”