In an apparent bid to challenge rival Live Nation Inc., IAC/InterActiveCorp's Ticketmaster and Cablevision Systems Corp. are in talks to together acquire 49% of No. 2 concert promoter AEG Live, owned by Anschutz Corp., according to people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The possible deal is the latest move in a scramble that finds various players moving in on each other's turf in the turbulent music industry. The idea is to combine formerly separate businesses -- such as concert promotion, ticketing, merchandise sales and music distribution -- into one entity that can provide full service to popular music acts.
In this case, the deal would connect the entertainment assets of several companies. AEG is a concert promoter that also owns venues like London's O2 Arena, various Nokia Theatre locations around the country and the Staples Center in Los Angeles; Ticketmaster is the dominant ticket seller in the U.S.; and Cablevision owns Madison Square Garden Entertainment and the Fuse TV cable music network, which could add firepower to AEG.
The deal appears to be in part a response to recent moves by Live Nation, a concert promoter that has signaled it has broader ambitions. Live Nation recently split from Ticketmaster to form its own ticketing business, representing a loss of Ticketmaster's largest client. Live Nation has also been signing artists like Madonna to multifaceted deals that call for the company to not just promote concerts, but also sell merchandise and issue new recordings.
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