After suspending negotiations last year following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Live Nation Entertainment has announced it will proceed with its acquisition of a 51% controlling interest in OCESA Entretenimiento, the third-highest grossing promoter in the world, and owner of Ticketmaster Mexico.
OCESA is owned by Grupo Televisa and Corporacion Interamericana de Entretenimiento (CIE), a major promoter and producers of concerts, festivals and sports and family events in Latin America.
Live Nation will pay approximately $444 million (based on the Sept. 10 exchange rate with the Mexican peso), with Live Nation holding back 7% of that to cover any operating losses following closing.
When it was originally announced back in 2019, the acquisition was seen as a major move by Live Nation into the Latin American live event market, and a huge signal of confidence in that market at a time when the region’s live business was booming.
Then, in May of 2020, Live Nation terminated the then-$480 million deal in the wake of COVID.
But Live Nation’s growing interest in the Latin market were clear and OCESA was the behemoth. In 2019, OCESA’s holding company, Grupo Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento, produced over 3,400 shows from the United States to Colombia and throughout Central America, reporting $233.2 million in ticket sales to 936 events for 4.3 million fans, according to Billboard’s 2019 year-end Boxscore charts.
Overall, pre-pandemic, OCESA/CIE was the highest-grossing Latin promoter on the 2019 Billboard Year-End Boxscore charts and the third highest grossing promoter overall, only behind Live Nation and AEG.
Today, concerts are just beginning to resume in Mexico and have not yet kicked off in the rest of Latin America, but confidence is running high that they will.
“After serving as Live Nation’s touring, festival, and ticketing partner in Mexico for years, we know OCESA is a stellar business with deep roots in live entertainment in Mexico,” said Michael Rapino, President and CEO, Live Nation Entertainment, in a statement. “Alex has built a remarkable company and as we continue to build on the return to live, OCESA will play a pivotal role in putting together many incredible shows in Mexico and the rest of Latin America.”
“We are extremely proud to finally join Live Nation,” said Alejandro Soberón Kuri, president and CEO of CIE. “This is a natural evolution of our long-standing relationship and it gives us a unique opportunity to continue OCESA´s 30-year contribution to the development of the Mexican live entertainment industry. Additionally, it will help us foster CIE´s commitment to the promotion of Mexican artistic talent abroad.”
As part of the transaction, Live Nation also acquired an interest in OcesaSeitrack, OCESA’s booking and artist management joint venture, whose clients include Luis Miguel and Alejandro Fernandez; ICREA, one of Mexico’s special and corporate event specialists; and Centro Citibanamex, an exhibition and convention center in Mexico City.
In an interview with Billboard last year, Soberón Kuri said that about 25% of his company’s revenue comes from international acts, 30% from domestic artists and 45% from festivals, which present a mix of the two. CIE, which is listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange, has offices in Mexico and Colombia, as well as a U.S. outpost for its Seitrack management agency, and includes venue management, concert promotion, festivals, ticket distribution and sponsorships. It also operates a special-events division, owns a 10% share in South American event promoter T4F-Time for Fun (which has offices in Chile, Brazil and Argentina) and has produced the Mexican Grand Prix auto race for the past five years.