Live Nation Inc., the world's largest concert promoter, said Thursday that a drop in attendance at its North American concerts lead to a larger first quarter loss than a year ago.

After the markets closed, the Beverly Hills company reported a net loss of nearly $103 million (-$1.29 a share), compared with a loss of $37.2 million (-50 cents) a year ago. Revenue fell more than 6 percent to $499 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected a 74 cent per share loss on $565 million in revenue.

Live Nation, whose proposed merger with Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. is facing anti-trust scrutiny, said its largest unit, North American music events, saw a 3.8 percent revenue decrease as attendance fell 23 percent. International revenue was down 6.7 percent, hurt by a stronger U.S. dollar. Conversely, sponsorship revenue rose 17 percent to $21 million.

Despite the declines, Chief Executive Michael Rapino was upbeat about the results.

"Our first-quarter results were in line with our plan and, despite challenging economic times, fans are buying concert tickets at a healthy pace," said Rapino in a statement.

Shares of Live Nation closed down 5 cents, or 1 percent, to $5.19 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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