Entertainment co. teams with Ticketmaster, TV

The companies that own concert promoter AEG Live, Ticketmaster and Madison Square Garden are in the process of creating an entertainment concern that will be called Fuse-AEG.

Deal, which was being worked out over the past three weeks, was expected to be completed this week. One insider said it is ultimately about AEG bringing in new partners and firming up its alliance with Ticketmaster.

AEG Live will own 51% of the company, MSG parent Cablevision will have 34% and Barry Diller’s IAC will have 15%. There was no definite word on how the company will be structured or what changes will be made.

Key to the deal is an expansion of the cabler Fuse TV, which provides AEG Live with a currently absent media component. The two companies fit into Ticketmaster’s plan to become more of a full-service live entertainment company.

AEG is the second-largest promoter in the world, its chief competition being Live Nation, which over the past two years has focused on the live music and related businesses and divested itself of other units. AEG, which promotes individual concerts, entire tours and owns venues, is in the process of building a $2 billion downtown Los Angeles campus called L.A. Live that already boasts Staples Center and the Nokia Theater and will soon include hotels, nightclubs, an ESPN studio, restaurants and a Grammy museum.

During the week of the Grammys, AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke addressed a group of lawyers about the importance of the various entities within the music industry maintaining their roles. He was quite specific in drawing a distinction between his company and Live Nation, saying that AEG had no interest in becoming a record label or a ticketing company and that it was more important for his company to form alliances with existing companies rather than purchase them outright or start new units.

Ticketmaster is losing its deal with Live Nation at the end of the year. Being a part of Fuse-AEG firms up its relationship with a significant promoter in the deal.

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