Even as the concert industry faces a rocky return, Live Nation’s stock keeps growing to new highs.
The concert giant’s stock price topped $100 for the first time ever on Tuesday before dropping below the benchmark at close. On Wednesday (Oct. 6) it fared even better, hitting $101.09 during the trading day and finishing at $101.03. Wednesday’s closing values the company at about $25.2 billion.
After bottoming out in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic shut down concerts across the world, Live Nation stock has been steadily growing since. In February it hit its pre-pandemic levels and briefly flirted with $100, reaching $94.63 on March 3, before retreating below $80 as recently as Aug. 20.
As a practical matter, $100 is an arbitrary amount for a share price — the company was worth negligibly less when it closed at $99.83 on Tuesday — but it is a symbolic threshold for pausing to recognize how Live Nation has gained value in the last 19 months. Since that pandemic-era low of $32.30 on March 18, the company’s stock has gained 212.8%.
During the company’s Aug. 3 earnings call, president Joe Berchtold declared “the pocketbooks are open.” At the time ticket sales and attendance were “pacing faster than expected,” CEO Michael Rapino said. But even though Berchtold was referring to customers, he might have been more accurate to indicate investors interest in concerts’ return. Since then, the industry has seen high no-show rates and many concerts have experienced less-than-stellar ticket sales, but investors keep buying stock. Plus, Live Nation had 15 of the 20 top-grossing concerts of the summer and most of the top tours, as compiled by Billboard Boxscore from early reports of live music’s return. Its eight Dead & Company concerts grossed $16.5 million, second only to Bruno Mars. Zac Brown Band, Billy Joel, James Taylor and the Eagles were also among the top 10 tours.
Hitting an all-time high before touring fully resumes also speaks to what lies ahead. Many artists are aiming for a 2022 return to the road, including Billie Eilish, John Mayer and Alanis Morissette, and more are lining up for the following years. “We’re talking mostly about what to add now into ’23 and ’24,” Rapino said on Aug. 3.
In the second quarter, Live Nation posted revenue of $575.9 million, up 677% from the pandemic-scarred prior-year period, with a $127.3 million operating loss — and a 98% improvement from the first quarter. And now the company is back to making big acquisitions: on Sept. 13, Live Nation announced it will move ahead with a $444 million deal for Mexican promoter OCESA to be paid for with a $450 million common stock offering.