Lucas Eyes CCE

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Former Clear Channel CEO Dave Lucas, who quit the company last year after a large reorganization, has informed the Texas-Based CCE of his interest in purchasing all or part of the live-event promotion powerhouse, should it go on the market rather than just split from its corporate parent. Analysts value the company at more than $1.5 billion.

Lucas has alerted the Texas-based CCE of his interest and lined up preliminary financing, according to Craig Pinkus, an attorney representing Lucas for the matter.

"All I'm going to say is, the expression of interest is not a frivolous expression, and there are substantial preliminary arrangements," Pinkus told the Indianapolis Business Journal. "This is not an effort of some kind to get attention and waste people's time."

CCE's parent company, Clear Channel Communications, announced in April that it planned to spin off the entertainment unit to its shareholders later this year, creating a separate, stand-alone public company.

Industry reports have shown that several concert promoters and investments firms will offer proposals in hopes of getting the company to sell instead.

According to the IBJ, a likely scenario would be for CCC to sell the unit in parts, dismantling the consolidation that transformed the industry during the 1990s.

SFX Broadcasting Inc. bought Lucas' company Sunshine Promotions in 1997 for $50 million and sold it, along with its other major concert companies, to Clear Channel in 2000 for $4 billion during their industry-consolidation-spree.

"My feeling on what is going to happen is, there is going to be a fragmented saleback. There will be a return to the way things were before this consolidation madness began," John Valant told the IBJ. Valant is a former Sunshine and Clear Channel official who now runs Indianapolis-based Valant Marketing Group. "Dave is going to be right in the middle of it, and will be right back on top, I believe."

A spin off of the entertainment unit into a new public company would not necessarily keep suitors at bay, according to the paper, since they could be free to attempt to strike a deal with that firm's yet-to-be-formed board.

Lucas served as president and co-CEO of Clear Channel Entertainment's live music division for more than two years. Earlier this year, he formed Live 360, the concert promotion arm of his recently formed Dave Lucas Entertainment Group, which will encompass several firms that promote and market live events.

Valant told the paper that he had not spoken to Lucas about the deal, but he's confident that he and other promoters who once reigned in their regions would covet the opportunity to buy venues in their area and regain their dominance.

"Right now, a lot of these promoters are faced with starting over," he told the IBJ. By striking separate deals with the promoters and others, he continued, Clear Channel Communications likely would reap more money than if it sold to a single buyer. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers

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