Live Nation Joins Growing List of Bidders for Warner Music

Published by: dallaseste on 1st Apr 2011 | View all blogs by dallaseste
Warner music_logo.jpg
Live Nation Joins Growing List of Bidders for Warner Music

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. has reportedly thrown its hat into the ring in the ongoing battle to acquire Warner Music Group, a competition that can now count over a dozen participants.  Live Nation's bid, according to the Wall Street Journal, is for just the recorded music portion of the company.  Warner also operates a publishing business, Warner / Chappell, whose catalog includes the recorded works of Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Katy Perry, and hundreds more artists.

The surprise bid from the world's largest concert promoter is in stark contrast to statements made by its CEO, Irving Azoff.  An accomplished personal music manager, Azoff has repeatedly denied any interest in acquiring Warner.  Azoff's personal management business boasts a number of top music acts in its stable, including Christina Aguilera, Van Halen, Josh Groban, 30 Second to Mars, and others.

If its offer is accepted, it will likely face extensive regulatory scrutiny, insiders say, similar to when the company merged with Ticketmaster to create the world's largest event-ticketing agency.  Regulators at the time were concerned about the power the company would have after merging the world's largest concert promoter with the world's largest ticketing agency.  Approval was ultimately given, and the deal closed in the early part of last year.

Warner Bros., meanwhile, asked Goldman Sachs to handle the sale late last year when it received an unsolicited offer from KKR, a bid that has since been increased in response to the dozen or so subsequent offers made.  Warner's board of directors hopes to begin eliminating bids in the next few weeks and make a final decision by the end of the month.

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