Earnings Preview: Ticketmaster 3Q results seen up

AP News
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Posted: Nov 06, 2009 8:08 PM

Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc., the nation's largest ticket seller and proposed merger partner of Live Nation 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.

Ticketmaster also faces the possible loss of business of AEG Live, the owner of 130 venues including the Staples Center in Los Angeles, if it decides to terminate a deal with Ticketmaster in relation to the merger. AEG Live issued a letter reserving its right to do so earlier this year.

AEG Live's business amounts to less than 10 percent of Ticketmaster's revenue. Its contract runs through mid-2012.

BY THE NUMBERS: Two analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect earnings per share to rise 3 percent to 18 cents, with revenue up 2 percent at $345 million.

ANALYST TAKE: Thomas Weisel Partners analyst Benjamin Mogil has an "Overweight" rating on the shares with a 12-month price target of $12, about 19 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 82 percent over the quarter, to $11.69 on Sept. 30 from $6.42 on June 30.