Live Nation CEO Says Concert Business 'Kicking Ass' Year-Over-Year

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UPDATED: The company, which reported a 2 percent quarterly revenue gain, also discloses that it has purchased Cream Holdings, a leading promoter of concerts in music's electronic-dance genre.

Live Nation Entertainment on Wednesday reported a 2 percent revenue gain to $868 million and a net loss of $70 million, up from a loss of $54 million last year.

The live-events company and owner of Ticketmaster disclosed its financial results on Wednesday shortly after announcing it had purchased Cream Holdings, a British promoter of concerts featuring electronic-dance music, including several Creamfields Music Festivals in Europe each year. Terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed.

Live Nation said it participated in 4,867 concerts in the first quarter, up from 4,600 a year ago and it sold 7.2 million tickets to them, up 4 percent from the year-ago quarter.

President and CEO Michael Rapino told the Hollywood Reporter after the company released its financial report that the Live Nation concert business during the current quarter is particularly strong.

"We're kicking ass from a year-over-year perspective," he said, with the number of tickets sold up 23 percent. "More artists are on the road, and we're selling more tickets to each show."

Wall Street cheered the results, bidding shares 6 percent higher after the closing bell. During the regular session, the stock rose 1 percent to $8.31.

The company's Ticketmaster unit, though, saw a decline in the number of concert tickets sold, from 17 million in the first quarter last year to 16.7 million this time around.

Tickets to sporting events through Ticketmaster, though, rose from 7.5 million to 8.7 million while the arts and theater category rose from 4.6 million to 4.8 million. Family events saw a small rise to 4.5 million from 4.4 million last year and the category of "other" jumped 68 percent to 2 million. Overall ticket sales at Ticketmaster rose 6 percent to 36.7 million.

Concerts represented the bulk of the company's revenue, though sales in that category fell fractionally to $449 million. Ticketing revenue was up 3 percent to $327 million.