Stocks, options and rock ‘n roll: U2 picks up Live Nation equity


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The rock band U2 now owns a chunk of concert promoter Live Nation Inc.

U2 will receive 1.56 million shares currently worth about $18.5 million, or about 2.1% of Live Nation’s shares outstanding, according to filings made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Back in March, Bono and mates announced a 12-year deal with Live Nation, handing over merchandising, branding, touring and other rights to the concert promoter but keeping its recording rights with Universal Music Group. Financial details beyond the stock issuance haven’t been disclosed, so the total value of U2’s deal with Live Nation isn’t known.


U2 is one of five artists that Live Nation has signed in the last year to expand its business beyond touring, and the only act that didn’t hand over recording rights.

Of the others, Jay-Z and Madonna also received shares — about 775,000 to the rap mogul (along with an option to purchase 500,000 more) and about 1.17 million to the Material Girl, according to Live Nation filings made earlier this year.

Shakira and Nickelback — the two most recent Live Nation acts to sign on, and the only two who arguably have growing recording careers ahead of them — didn’t receive any stock as part of their deals.

Live Nation closed down 3.87% to $11.93 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange today, giving the company a current market cap of about $900 million. That’s only slightly lower than the share price when the U2 deal was announced, but significantly lower than the year-to-date high of $17.48, set in August shortly after the company reported a stronger-than-expected second quarter.

-- Swati Pandey