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Live Nation stock takes a stage dive on earnings miss

February 24, 2012 | 11:08 am

Shares of Live Nation Entertainment Inc., which did not disclose its fourth-quarter net loss when it reported its earnings Thursday, took a big hit Friday as investors got wind of the number
Shares of Live Nation Entertainment Inc., which did not disclose its fourth-quarter net loss when it reported its earnings Thursday, took a big hit Friday as investors got wind of the number.

The Beverly Hills-based concert and ticketing giant on Friday said it lost $98.2 million, or 54 cents a share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, 77% more than analysts' expectations of a $55.5-million net loss, or 30 cents a share. The estimate was an average derived from a survey of five analysts by Thomson Reuters.

The earnings miss sent Live Nation's stock tumbling as much as 10% in early Friday morning trading. The stock stabilized somewhat in subsequent hours, trading down 47 cents, or 4.5%, to $10.03 as of 10 a.m. PST. 

Live Nation's results "were below expectations as corporate costs in particular were higher than expected," Ben Mogil, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus, said in a note to investors.

Live Nation Chief Executive Michael Rapino, in Thursday's conference call with analysts, noted that the company was two-thirds of the way through a three-year, $112-million effort to modernize its ticketing platform.

He said the company's Ticketmaster, which until recently was considered a "technology laggard," has significantly beefed up its online sales and social marketing capabilities in the last two years.

Such moves were costly but necessary, Rapino said, as the company faces increased competition.

The heat comes from large rivals such as AEG Live, which is rolling out its Axs ticketing service, as well as small online competitors that allow independent bands to sell their own tickets without the help of an established ticketing service.

RELATED: 

AEG rolls out Axs ticketing service

Live Nation still losing money, but not as much

Facebook gets into ticketing with Ticketmaster, ScoreBig, others

-- Alex Pham

Photo: Bruce Springsteen's 2012 tour is expected to be among the biggest of the year and may help boost Live Nation's prospects. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

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