Cohl mines cash fund

Private placement boosts concert promoter

Michael Cohl, promoter of U2’s PopMart Tour, has received a much needed financial shot in the arm from Claridge Investments, an investment management firm with a portfolio comprising sports, entertainment, broadcasting and communications holdings.

The deal, guided by Claridge principal Stephen R. Bronfman, gives Cohl’s the Next Adventure access to millions of dollars. Sources said it was an eight-figure deal in the form of a private placement.

“The addition of Stephen Bronfman … as an investor in TNA Intl. provides us with a highly successful and reputable financial partner,” Cohl said. “This new partnership will enable us to pursue a myriad of new business opportunities in the live entertainment industry.”

Cohl denied in February that he had been seeking a cash influx, though he had been circulating a proposal delineating potential revenue and profits an investor could earn off the U2 and Rolling Stones tours (Daily Variety, Feb 7). At the time he was seeking an infusion of at least $35 million based on forecasts that the U2 tour would gross $260 million. The Stones had a projected take north of $213 million for their 1997-1998 tour.

Cohl also met Tuesday in New York with promoters interested in shepherding the Stones tour, which is tentatively set to kick off in November once the band’s latest album has been completed.

Sources said the discussion mostly centered on the promoter’s fees and where the money would be coming from. The Bronfman placement was inked the previous day.

The veteran promoter has also been dogged by the music media’s perception that the massive U2 roadshow has been a ticket sales disappointment as cities that once had several dates on hold, such as Los Angeles, have been only able to sell out one show. The show costs north of $250,000 a day to keep on the road, according to sources.

Cohl has repeatedly said he believes the tour is not a stiff and while admitting that tickets have been slow to sell out in some markets, he noted that others stops such as Toronto and some Eastern cities have added dates.

Bronfman, a member of the Canadian family that owns the Seagram beverage conglom, is also deputy chairman of NetStar Communications and sits on the board of TNA Intl. and Maxlink Communications.

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