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Live Nation backs out of OCESA takeover

Live Nation has pulled out of a deal worth more than $400m (£324m/€364m) to acquire a majority stake in Latin America’s biggest promoter, OCESA, which also owns Ticketmaster Mexico.

In July 2019, it was announced that Live Nation had agreed deals to acquire a 40% stake in OCESA from multimedia giant Grupo Televisa for about $290m and an additional 11% shareholding from another Mexican company, Corporacion Interamericana de Entretenimiento (CIE).

However, earlier this month Live Nation chief executive Michael Rapino revealed that the takeover process had been put on hold, due to uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the parties were unable to agree on new acquisition terms during the so-called ‘standstill’ agreement.

The entertainment giant, which owns global ticketing titan Ticketmaster, said it was terminating the purchase agreement due to CIE’s failure to comply with certain contractual obligations.

Live Nation said it has commenced binding arbitration proceedings “seeking a declaratory judgment that it has properly terminated the CIE Purchase Agreement and that any obligations thereunder are excused”.

Live Nation notified investors that both CIE and Televisa may “pursue any legal remedies available to them to enforce the terms of their respective Purchase Agreements”.

Televisa said on Tuesday it would consider its legal options, adding: “Televisa disagrees with the letter of termination and reserves its rights over the arguments previously made by Live Nation… and will evaluate all recourses and actions available to it under existing agreements and laws.”

Earlier this month, Live Nation announced it had furloughed 20 per cent of its employees as part of the firm’s cost-cutting measures amid the COVID-19 live events blackout.