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Man who transformed the live industry dies

News
6 December 2019

THE US financier who transformed the live music industry in Europe and America in the late-1990s, setting the foundations of what became Live Nation Entertainment, died on 26 November aged 71.

Having performed a roll-up of US radio stations, which he sold at a handsome profit, Robert FX Sillerman saw the potential to do the same with the fragmented live entertainment sector.

Raising more than $2 billion, he set about buying promoters and venues across the States and then stepped over to Europe, where he acquired UK theatres chain Apollo Leisure Group and promoter Barry Clayman Concerts for a combined sum of around £158 million, and Midland Concert Promoters for a figure believed to be about £18m. Agent/promoters ITB and Solo also joined the conglomerate a year or so later.

Accomplishing his three-year roll-up, which included the leading promoters in several European countries, Sillerman sold his SFX Entertainment to radio stations and billboards giant Clear Channel Communications for $4.4bn, making himself a reported $250m profit.

No other individual has done anything as transformative in the business of live music and, although his creation then lost value at an alarming rate, with Live Nation eventually spun off with around $400m of debt, there was no return to the old ways.

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