Live Nation Entertainment Inc. achieved a 22 percent smaller loss in the fourth quarter as the world’s largest ticket seller benefited from increased online sales which offset the impact of the NBA lock-out.

The Beverly Hills concert and artist promoter also announced a partnership that will enable it to enter the Japanese live entertainment market.

Live Nation late Thursday reported a net loss of $66.7 million, compared with a loss of $86.1 million in the same period a year earlier. The company did not provide per-share results for the quarter.

Total revenue was down 4.2 percent to $1.19 billion, in part reflecting a tough comparison with strong sales from a U2 tour in 2010. Concert sales fell 12 percent, while ticketing revenue was up 6 percent. Revenue generated by the company's growing ecommerce business jumped 63 percent.

“We believe that the industry has stabilized and expect the overall market environment to be much the same in 2012, with the fan's passion for our products mitigating any ongoing economic uncertainty,” said Chief Executive Michael Rapino in a statement.

Live Nation in a separate announcement said that it would enter the Japanese market with the creation of Live Nation Japan, a joint venture with Tokyo’s Creativeman Productions. Creativeman, which presented 290 concerts for both international and Japanese artists last year, “has a long and proven track record of promoting major artists as well as developing highly successful festivals,” Rapino said.

Shares earlier closed down 5 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $10.50 on the New York Stock Exchange, and were unchanged in after-hours trading.

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