Hot tickets: What does music merger mean for Crozet?
What does LiveNation's proposed merger with Ticketmaster, announced Tuesday February 10, mean for the Crozet-based ticket and music merch biz that LiveNation already owns?
The deal has immediately raised eyebrows in Washington, as U.S. Senator Chuck Shumer denounced the proposed merger as monopolistic, and there are suggestions that the new president's Justice Department may want to block it.
LiveNation documents vow "no immediate change to organizational structure or jobs at either company," but the documents also suggest $40 million in annual synergies from combining the companies.
"I have been trying and mostly consistently failing to put these companies together for many years now," said Ticketmast chairman Barry Diller in a conference call the morning of the announcement.
Already, strong words of displeasure have rung from on high, with both the man known as "The Boss" weighing in. The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, has expressed displeasure with Ticketmaster's foray into the so-called "secondary" market of ticket selling.
"Ticketmaster's efforts in engaging in secondary ticketing are designed to make a more transparent and secure marketplace for those kinds of transactions," Diller said in the conference call.
Telephone calls to MusicToday's president and to its founder were eventually returned, but both men, Del Wood and Coran Capshaw, declined to speak about the deal.
So what about the folks working in Crozet? LiveNation chief financial officer Kathy Willard declined to discuss specifics other than to note, ominously for some workers, that the $40 million savings would be realized "within the first year after the closing."
More encouragingly, one individual close to the operation says that because MusicToday is largely built on fan clubs and merchandise fulfilment–- areas where Ticketmaster has little or no revenue–- those MusicToday/LiveNation jobs should be safe.
"Live Nation's strategy has focused on the development of a direct artist/fan distribution pipe," LiveNation CEO Michael Rapino noted in the conference call.
One thing the conference call didn't address was the irony that LiveNation and MusicToday, companies largely built on artist/fan love and on antipathy toward double-digit ticket "convenience fees" should suddenly wrap its arms around such a fan-vilified company as Ticketmaster.
Meanwhile, some Ticketmaster shareholders are crying foul via a class-action lawsuit claiming that they're not getting compensated enough in the deal.
–last updated 12:18pm February 17