Earnings Preview: Live Nation 3Q seen lower

AP News
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Posted: Nov 06, 2009 8:06 PM

Live Nation Inc., the world's biggest concert promoter and proposed merger partner of Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc., is scheduled to report its third-quarter earnings on Monday. The following is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

OVERVIEW: Both companies are waiting for the U.S. Justice Department to decide how to treat their merger after U.K. authorities came out against the deal, saying it could stifle the entry of a major competitor, Germany's CTS Eventim, into the U.K. market.

The British regulators had initially said they would take until Nov. 24 to determine their course of action, but on Thursday extended the deadline for a final report to Jan. 19.

The companies had earlier expected the deal to be complete by the end of the year.

Live Nation has been running a weekly ticket sales promotion that it says has sold more than 800,000 tickets at its venues through the summer season, although some of those tickets would have been sold at regular prices anyway. The company says it more than made up for the discounting through the concert fans' increased spending on things such as beer, popcorn and parking.

Absent news on the regulatory front, Thomas Weisel Partners analyst Benjamin Mogil says investors will focus on how sponsorship deals are shaping up for 2010.

BY THE NUMBERS: Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect earnings per share to fall by 52 percent to 80 cents, with revenue up 2 percent at $1.62 billion.

ANALYST TAKE: Mogil has an "Overweight" rating on the shares with a 12-month price target of $8.50, about 22 percent above the stock's closing price on Friday.

WHAT'S AHEAD: Live Nation and Ticketmaster on Friday set Jan. 8 for shareholders to meet and approve the plan. The companies say the deal to create Live Nation Entertainment would help them save about $40 million annually.

STOCK PERFORMANCE: Shares rose 69 percent over the quarter, to $8.19 on Sept. 30 from $4.86 on June 30.