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Live Nation Reportedly Makes A Play For SMG

Live Nation Reportedly Makes A Play For SMG
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CONSHOHOCKEN, PA (CelebrityAccess) — Live Nation has reportedly thrown its hat into the ring in a bid to acquire venue management company SMG.

According to the Sacremento Business Journal, sources said that Live Nation was one of the firms that submitted bids to Richmond-based investment bank Harris Williams & Co. which is managing the potential sale of SMG.

SMG was put up for sale earlier this month after its owner Northlane Capital Partners, a billion-dollar private equity fund, announced that they were soliciting bids for the firm in a deal estimated to be worth about $750m.

The acquisition, if successful, would expand Live Nation’s venue portfolio by about 200 accounts and solidify their position in the arena and stadium business. Founded in 1977, the Pennsylvania-based SMG operates some of the world’s largest venues, including Soldier Field, US Bank Stadium, NRG Stadium, BOK Center, Rogers K-Rock Centre and BB&T Arena.

SMG’s assets also include catering services and food/beverage concessionaires Premier and Savor, which boasts more than 50 concession and catering contracts mostly connected to SMG-managed facilities.

If combined, the holdings of Live Nation and SMG would make Live Nation the largest player in the venue management field, far ahead of rivals such as AEG, Spectrum, and VenuWorks. Such a deal would also likely draw intense regulatory scrutiny, both in the US and abroad as it would further verticalize Live Nation’s control of the live sector.

Interestingly, Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke said earlier this month that his venue management company OVG Facilities was blocked from bidding on SMG.

“We were told that we couldn’t bid,” Leiweke told BizJournals. “I don’t know if it’s because of our purchase of Pinnacle or years of competing with [SMG during Leiweke’s tenure as AEG’s president and CEO]. Who knows? So, we’ve stood down and are focused on growing Pinnacle. We’re proceeding with our own route.”

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