Live Nation Delivers Sour 3Q Numbers, But Investors Are Relieved

Live Nation sure made it hard to find the good news in its 3Q report. The basic data looks terrible: It had net income from continuing operations of $63M, down 3.1% from last year’s 3Q, on revenues of $1.79B, down 2.5%. The revenue figure was far less than the $1.91B that analysts expected. And the continuing operations delivered 27 cents a share while analysts forecast 38 cents. So where’s the good news? The concert business was more profitable than expected, helping the company to deliver adjusted operating income of $203.6M — up 6.8% from last year and beating the $197M that the Street forecast. “It was a huge relief” says Maxim Group’s John Tinker — especially since lots of investors figured the concert business would be one of the first victims of a weakening economy. Live Nation shares were flat in after-hours trading. “Concerts and sports, the core of our business, have both held up,” CEO Michael Rapino told analysts in a conference call. Still, there are a few potential problems ahead. The company says it might lose $10M in adjusted operating income in 4Q due to the NBA lockout. Also, big acts including Van Halen, Neil Diamond, and Jimmy Buffet have deferred their tour plans, and The Eagles reduced their schedule — although the company says that Diamond and Van Halen will be back in next year’s 2Q.

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