Pollstar is reporting that Live Nation, the Clear Channel spinoff that does concert business in this market and all over the country, has acquired House of Blues Entertainment, the music venue company.
Live Nation made the deal for an estimated $350 million in cash. The deal includes all clubs and venues, in addition to HoB Concerts, and is expected to close by the end of the year.
This deal, it is said, not only puts Live Nation in control of all the nation's major amphitheaters, but fills in some routing gaps among its "sheds," such as amphitheaters near San Diego and Denver, L.A., Dallas (Smirnoff Music Centre), Atlanta, Toronto, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington state. It also gives Live Nation a big hold on the national nightclub market with the branded House of Blues clubs throughout the country, with more planned in major markets.
House of Blues wasn't supposed to be on the market, but apparently Live Nation made an offer HOB couldn't refuse. What it eventually will mean, we figure, is more exhorbitant prices on the big-name entertainment. Live Nation (when it was Clear Channel Concerts) drove up ticket prices substantially on major acts, only to see the concert business cost the parent company a ton of revenue, but as Live Nation corners the market even further, we're likely to see the entertainment costs rise again. Code for all that, as Live Nation officials say in announcing this deal, is "we're taking our business to the next level." Good for them.