More than two years after it was first announced, Live Nation has finalized the acquisition of a 51% interest in Mexican concert promoter OCESA Entretenimiento, the company announced Monday. Live Nation bought its stake from CIE, a Latin American entertainment company, and media company Grupo Televisa, for MXN $8.84 billion – $416 million at Monday’s exchange rate but $444 million when the deal was announced in July 2019.
OCESA significantly improves Live Nation’s presence in Latin America and further expands its international business. In 2019, OCESA’s holding company, Grupo Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento, reported $233.2 million in ticket sales to 936 events for 4.3 million fans from 3,400 shows spanning from the U.S. to Colombia, according to Billboard’s 2019 year-end Boxscore charts. Live Nation’s international concerts – primarily in Europe – totaled 11,830 that year, compared to 28,400 in North America.
The resulting joint venture is led by Alejandro Soberón Kuri, chairman of the board and chief operating officer of CIE. Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino will be the joint venture’s chairman of the board of directors.
Initially, Live Nation believed the deal would close by the end of 2019. But a slowdown in the regulatory approval process delayed the expected closing date to the second quarter of 2020, president Joe Berchtold said during Live Nation’s February 27, 2020 earnings call. Then in May 2020, following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Live Nation postponed the acquisition while it shored up its liquidity for a prolonged cessation of touring. The touring business has since stabilized, and Live Nation is optimistic about its 2022 touring schedule. Despite having $4.6 billion of cash and cash equivalents on its balance sheet on Sept. 30, and $571 million of available borrowings in a credit facility, Live Nation sold $450 million of notes in September to fund the purchase.
Additionally, the deal adds OCESA’s ticketing business, Ticketmaster Mexico, to Live Nation’s high-margin Ticketmaster division. “This strategic agreement extends the already successful relationship we have with Live Nation and we are very proud to take it to the next level,” said Soberón Kuri in a statement.