Terms Announced: Live Nation and Ticketmaster Merger

merger signed by boardIt’s now official. I’s dotted and T’s crossed on the plan.  Live Nation and Ticketmaster have agreed to merge. The official press release (PDF) was issued this morning.  Substantiating the early reports , here are the facts from the press releases and conference call:

• The companies will combine in a tax free, all stock merger with a combined enterprise value estimated at $2.5b.

• Ticketmaster will receive 1.384 shares of Live Nation for each share of Ticketmaster they own.  Pro -Forma, Live Nation shareholders will hold 49.99% of the new company. Ticketmaster will hold 50.01%.

Click to Read More

Live Nation and Ticketmaster Merger Gets Board Approval

music-merger-rumor-metue-small.jpgFor a long time, Live Nation and Ticketmaster were joined at the hip.  The nation’s largest concert promoter and the nation’s largest ticket vendor formed an inseparable pair.  Then Live Nation, pursuing better margins and greater ambitions of vertical integration, decided to go it alone.  The tie was severed, with prejudice.  Live Nation began acquiring assets and partners to be more self reliant. It joined with CTS Eventim to begin selling tickets on its own. Ticketmaster spun off from its parent corporation, IAC, and tried to blaze its own path.

Now, not a month into Live Nation’s re- incarnation as both promoter and ticket vendor (ticket sales began in January), and it turns out the old pals are ready to not just rekindle their old relationship, but tie up entirely in a merger.

Last  week the Wall Street Journal discovered the two companies were in the late stage of discussions.  Widespread reports citing “sources familiar” and “inside sources” predicted a deal would hit the news wires by early Monday.    

The Monday news never came. The boards of both companies apparently met late Sunday but failed to hammer out all issues.  A second meeting on Monday afternoon is believed to have settled the remaining impasse.

At this point, there’s no official press release nor comment from the companies but reports are starting to circulate that both boards agreed unanimously.  (Details will be updated on Metue as they become available).

(UPDATE: As of Tuesday morning, the companies have now confirmed the merger and issued statements regarding the details. A full summary of the deal terms as currently announced is available here on Metue. Other details about the company can be found at the bottom of this article).

What is believed known now: Click to Read More

Amazon Debuts Kindle 2.0

kindle 2When Amazon launched its Kindle eBook reader in late 2007, opinions on the device ran the spectrum.  Some analysts and pundits criticized it.  To them, the execution was bad. The device was unwieldy and immature.  The market opportunity for eBooks was narrow at best.   With Kindle, they thought, Amazon was chasing rainbows.   Others looked at the vision and thought the opposite.  They projected the Kindle would be transformational.  Even with its warts, they lauded the first generation device and proclaimed it the publishing industry’s equivalent to the iPod.     

After more than a year of sales, the verdict is still out but the Kindle has proven one thing: it’s no joke.  The device has been in short supply since launch.  Customers have raved about it and thanks to Kindle, eBook sales have climbed to ten percent of Amazon’s total book sales.

This morning, Amazon rolled out the second generation. 

Click to Read More

Corbis Migrating Microstock Photos from Snap Village to Veer

cash photos sale smallIn the past few years, the advent, and rapid growth, of low cost royalty-free photo licensing services like iStockphoto (dubbed “microstock” agencies) gave amateur photographers an entrance into the previously exclusive world of image sales and caused a sea change in how some large licensing businesses operate.  Undercutting pricing and pinching sales, the upstarts arguably even forced the privatization of image licensing giant, Getty Images.

Bill Gates owned Corbis came late to the game but planned to capitalize with the launch of its own microstock service, Snap Village. A beta opened to the public in June of 2007 and the site launched commercially a year later.  The idea at the start was to differentiate by offering image owners the luxury of setting their own pricing schedules (in set stops between $1 to $50).  Two years later, Snap Village has found chasing down the market leader with this approach was harder than anticipated.  

Rather than revise, Corbis will of start over – sort of.  Click to Read More

Earnings: News Corp Comes In Low, Takes Huge Charge

earnings wrap metueAnalysts expected 19 cents per share in earnings.  They got 12 cents, and that’s not taking into account an $8.4b writedown.   So much for expectations.

Like other major media companies (Time Warner (PDF), and Disney (article) to name a pair), it’s currently a struggle to balance ad inventory against reduced spending.  In the face of this, News Corporation reported weak earnings Thursday.

In a statement Rupert Murdoch explained saying the “downturn is more severe and likely longer lasting than previously thought.”

Revenue for the company’s fiscal second quarter came in at $7.87b, down 8.4% and below Wall Street’s expected draw of $8.35 to $8.38b.  Factoring in the pre-tax onetime charge related to goodwill and intangible assets, the net loss was $6.4b, or $2.45 a share compared to net income of $832m (27 cents a share) for the same period last year.

The result was News Corps. First loss in more than three years.

Click to Read More

Tribune Centralizing Online Entertainment Coverage

inside papers. metueOperational efficiency is important for any well run business.  It’s essential for those trying to work from struggle to success. The Tribune Co, still under the protective umbrella of bankruptcy, will try and get leaner by sharing resources across its properties.  The first focus: entertainment.

A joint online entertainment news bureau, apparently to be called “the syndicate” is being created from assets at the LA Times and Zap2it.

According to the company, this new bureau will focus on expanded coverage of movies and TV.  “It will leverage writers and reporters from across [Tribune] properties to bring readers constantly updated blogs and other multimedia news on more than 60 top TV shows,” Click to Read More

Gone Hollywood. Microsoft Making Original Video Shorts for Zune

zune videosMuch as it seems a wild tangent from core focus, especially given recent financial performance, the news from Redmond today is Microsoft has set up a unit to create original short form video content for the Zune.  Microsoft’s gone Hollywood.

“Cinemash,” the first planned release will launch on the Zune marketplace as an eight episode series in May. Crafted in partnership with MEAN Magazine, the program will feature TV and Film actors re-imagining classic Hollywood roles in three to five minute segments.   All of the episodes will be free but ad-supported.

Microsoft says they will develop additional pilots over the next twelve months that range in focus from live action to urban and music programming. 

Offering platform exclusive content is a strategy that works for selling video game consoles.  Microsoft’s relied on it with the Xbox platform (the Halo series has driven sales), and even explored creating exclusive non-game video content for the Xbox Live environment. 

Will using the approach here help stimulate demand for a portable media player?   There’s no doubt assistance would be appreciated.  Click to Read More

Page 3 of 41234