Live Nation Rallies to Record as Global, Digital Ambitions Mount
(Bloomberg) -- Live Nation Entertainment Inc.’s growth trajectory is growing increasingly evident, carrying the stock to a record high Friday.
Investors are cheering on the concert promoter after $2.6 billion in fourth-quarter revenue topped the highest of analysts’ projections. Goldman Sachs said the earnings report left it with "renewed confidence" and showed leading indicators for the business are robust. Live Nation shares rose as much as 9.4 percent intraday on almost four days’ average trading volume.
Goldman Sachs’s Drew Borst reiterated a buy rating on Live Nation, saying “confirmed amphitheater, arena and stadium show counts for 2019 are up double-digits year-over-year and ticket sales, through mid-February, are also up double-digits.”
Live Nation is surely "not resting on its laurels" as the Beverly Hills, California-based company remains acquisitive to fulfill its global and digital ticketing ambitions, writes Macquarie analyst Amy Yong in a research note. Yong believes "near-term investments and long-term secular trends will continue to support growth."
Macquarie, with an outperform rating, boosted its price target on Live Nation to a Street-high of $65 per share from $60.
A pair of initiatives targeting international promoters and festivals may give Live Nation additional scale and expertise. And though ticketing adjusted operating income will feel pressure from the upfront costs needed for international expansion, Yong says "the runway to gain share is long."
Live Nation is also focusing on other initiatives: like diversity. The events business today announced that longtime concert promoter Ali Harnell will join the company to spearhead women’s programs in a newly-created division called Women Nation. Harnell joins from AEG Presents, where she served as senior vice president of global touring.
"Ali’s decades of experience and insight into the opportunities and challenges for women in the live music business make her a powerful champion for the women of Live Nation,” said chief executive officer Michael Rapino.
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