Live Nation expands its empire

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Following the passing of Jon Stoll, Clear Channel Communications spin-off Live Nation has acquired the late Florida concert promoter's Fantasma Productions (full disclosure: both companies advertise with Creative Loafing.) Headquarted in Los Angeles, Live Nation books shows locally at Ford Amphitheatre while Fantasma, based in West Palm Beach, brought shows to Bay area venues like Tampa Theatre. The two companies rank as the most successful promoters in the Florida. No word yet on how the acquisition will effect which acts come to town, ticket prices, etc. But the lack of competition does make me wonder whether this is a good development for music fans.

Here's today's press release from Live Nation:

LIVE NATION CONTINUES TOP 20 MARKET EXPANSION WITH AGREEMENT TO ACQUIRE FANTASMA PRODUCTIONS LIVE MUSIC ASSETS IN FLORIDA

LOS ANGELES, CA March 12, 2008 Live Nation, the world’s largest live music company, announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the majority of the live music assets of late Florida concert promoter Jon Stoll’s Fantasma Productions. Fantasma and Live Nation have long been two of the most successful concert promoters in the state. The acquisition includes the Fantasma calendar of shows, two important outdoor mid-sized music venues and two outdoor festivals. As part of the agreement, Mr. Stoll’s widow and Fantasma principal Lori Stoll will retain an interest in the profits of the acquired business for a period of years and take a senior position in Live Nation’s Florida office.

“Over the past year we have worked hard to strengthen our presence in the Florida market, and this agreement is a major step in that expansion,” said Neil Jacobsen, President of Live Nation Florida. “This deal represents the union of two of our state’s major live music players. Jon Stoll was a legend in the Florida music business and we are honored that Lori has agreed to become part of our team and continue the Stoll family tradition in Florida.”

The acquisition, when completed, will include the leases for the Pompano Beach Amphitheatre and Grounds in Pompano Beach (capacity 2,900) and Mizner Park Amphitheater in Boca Raton (capacity 3,500), two important Southern Florida music venues. The additions will fill important niches in Live Nation’s Florida venue portfolio which already includes the House of Blues in Orlando (capacity 2,100), the Ford Amphitheatre in Tampa (capacity 19,000), Cruzan Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach (capacity 19,000) and the newly-opened Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theatre in Miami Beach (capacity 2,100). The acquisition will also add two venues in the important mid-sized venue category in one of the top twenty markets in the United States.

“Jon spent his life creating special music events for Florida music fans,” said Ms. Stoll. “I am pleased to have found partners at Live Nation who share that commitment to excellence and to have reached a deal that provides my family with stability and the opportunity to continue what Jon built.”

ABOUT LIVE NATION:

Live Nation is the future of the music business. With the most live concerts, music venues and festivals in the world and the most comprehensive concert search engine on the web, Live Nation is revolutionizing the music industry: onstage and online. Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Live Nation is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol “LYV.” Additional information about the company can be found at www.livenation.com under the “About Us” section.

Anyone care to opine on Live Nation's latest expansion?

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