DEAG has expanded its reach in the UK market through the acquisition of promoter and event organiser UK Live Limited.
The deal for 90 per cent of UK Live’s shares, via DEAG’s UK subsidiary Kilimanjaro Holdings Ltd, comes during a busy period of M&A activity in the market for the Germany-based group as it seeks to build its presence in what it considers its second market.
UK Live has become one of the largest independent promoters in its home market since being established more than 10 years ago and has organised concerts with well-known music stars such as Craig David, Rick Astley and Kaiser Chiefs. It operates the Let’s Rock series of concerts across the UK and is also active in areas such as artist booking, stage construction and event technology.
DEAG said tickets for UK Live events will be sold exclusively through its Gigantic.com subsidiary, adding that the acquisition creates “perfect synergy” with its ticketing divisions in the UK market. The deal comes just weeks after DEAG raised around €6m through a cash capital increase following its delisting from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
DEAG executive board member Detlef Kornett said: “In view of the positive development with regard to the vaccination situation in our core markets, we expect to see our business activities increasingly return to normal in the coming months.
“We are already setting the course for a continuation of our successful business development and can further expand our strong market position in the UK with the acquisition of UK Live.
“UK Live has its own productions and independently covers the complete infrastructure from stage set-up to technology. By focusing on the domestic market, UK Live’s business activities are hardly affected by the Brexit.”
UK Live founders and managing directors Nick Billinghurst and Matt Smith will stay on board as shareholders and will continue to manage the company in the long term.
UK Live’s Billinghurst said: “We are very excited about our future collaboration with DEAG and look forward to driving our growth journey together. With DEAG, we have a strong partner on our side, with whom we are ideally positioned for the post-corona era.
“Together we will soon be presenting our audience with top-class concerts and events again. I am sure that both sides will benefit from our merger in the long term.”
DEAG acquired a majority stake in promoter Kilimanjaro Live for €4m in 2014 and followed that up with the purchase of a controlling interest in ticketing vendor Gigantic in December 2019. It also acquired promoter The Flying Music Group in 2017 and Belladrum Festival in Scotland in 2018.
DEAG strengthened its market position in the UK and Ireland in the fall of 2020 by founding the joint venture Singular Artists in Ireland.
Stuart Galbraith, chief executive of Kilimanjaro, said: “The acquisition of UK Live adds attractive events and concerts to our events portfolio.
“Nick Billinghurst and Matt Smith have many years of experience in the live entertainment industry and have shaped UK Live from its early days with “Let’s Rock The Moor” with 1,000 visitors to a successful company with over a dozen festivals and countless concerts within only a few years.
“Today, the four series of events Let’s Rock, Penn Fest, Friday Night Live Norwich, and Sunday Sessions alone attract over 200,000 visitors annually.”