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Live Nation Rocks 10,000 Shows in a Record Quarter

Steve Symington, The Motley Fool

Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV) announced second-quarter 2019 results on Thursday after the market closed. While the live events leader technically fell short of expectations on the top line, it also drove outsized bottom-line growth and demonstrated its highest-ever number of concerts to end a first half.

With shares ending up around 1.4% Friday after briefly dipping into negative territory this morning, let's grab our wristbands for a closer look at what Live Nation accomplished over the past few months.

Live Nation's results: The raw numbers

Metric

Q2 2019

Q2 2018

Change

Net sales

$3.157 billion

$2.868 billion

10.1%

GAAP net income attributable to common shareholders

$103.4 million

$69.4 million

49%

GAAP earnings per diluted share

$0.41

$0.24

70.8%

Data source: Live Nation.

Crowd of people in front of a brightly lit concert stage.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

What happened with Live Nation this quarter?

  • Live Nation does not provide specific financial guidance. So for perspective -- and though we don't usually pay close attention to Wall Street's demands -- most analysts were modeling lower earnings of $0.38 per share on higher revenue of $3.21 billion. 
  • Concerts segment revenue grew 11% to $2.64 billion, and adjusted (non-GAAP) operating income soared 33% to $132.8 million.
  • Ticketing segment revenue climbed 6% to $370.8 million, driving a 20% increase in adjusted operating income to $123.8 million.
    • Ticketmaster's fee-bearing gross transaction volume (GTV) grew 13% at constant currencies, good for its second-highest quarterly GTV in company history.
  • Sponsorship and Advertising segment sales increased 8% to $151.5 million, resulting in a 12% jump in adjusted operating income to $98.4 million.
    • Committed net revenue for this segment is up 18% year to date.
  • About 27 million fans attended 10,000 shows this quarter; those figures are good for year-over-year growth of 7% and 9%, respectively, marking a new second-quarter record. 

What management had to say

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino stated:

We continue to benefit from a strong tailwind in the live event, experience-based economy of today. The global ticket revenue from our concerts is up 16% for the first half of the year, as we continue to see a strong supply of artists touring matched with global consumer demand. And within this, the ticket revenue from concerts outside our top 100 artists is up 32% so far this year, demonstrating that the demand for live music is strong and growing from the largest stadiums to the local clubs.

Looking forward

Here again, Live Nation does not provide specific forward guidance. But the company did note it's on track for nearly 100 million fans to attend approximately 38,000 concerts in 2019.

Rapino also elaborated that the company continues to expect double-digit growth in adjusted operating income from its concerts segment. Meanwhile, Live Nation anticipates mid- to high teens percent growth from its sponsorship and advertising business -- a clarification from the "double-digit" verbiage Rapino used three months ago.

And finally, Rapino vaguely added that Ticketmaster should "drive growth in GTV and operating results" this year. By comparison, last quarter he called for the ticketing business to generate "mid-single-digit" growth.

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Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Live Nation Entertainment. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.