Music

Live Nation Stock Holds After Initial Post-Lawsuit Slump

Live Nation’s share price has proven to be resilient following the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit and effort to break up the company’s concert promotion and ticketing operations. Eight days into what is likely to be a multi-year journey through the court system, shares of Live Nation dropped 2.3% to $93.74 and have held steady after an initial drop the day of the DOJ’s announcement. 

Live Nation shares closed at $101.40 on May 22, the day before the DOJ announced its lawsuit, and dropped 7.8% to $93.48 when the news broke the following day. Since the announcement, however, Live Nation shares are up 0.3%. Still, amidst the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the lawsuit, Live Nation’s year-to-date gain has been pared to just 0.1%, while its 52-week gain has been reduced to 13.2%. 

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Regardless of the outcome, the mere existence of a protracted legal battle is enough to exert a drag on the stock. In lowering their price target for Live Nation to $116 from $126 this week, J.P. Morgan analysts said in a Wednesday (May 29) note to investors they doubt the DOJ will succeed in breaking up the company and its Ticketmaster ticketing arm, but noted the effect of a “sentiment overhang.” J.P. Morgan maintains its “overweight” rating on Live Nation and analysts “believe that continued execution on [adjusted operating income] growth should drive shares higher, with significant valuation upside should developments in the lawsuit break positive.”  

Music stocks were broadly down this week as the biggest companies in the Billboard Global Music Index lost ground. The index fell 2.3% to 1,799.07 as Spotify fell 3.8% to $296.53, Universal Music Group dropped 0.9% to 28.58 euros ($31.03), Warner Music Group sank 2.2% to $29.78 and HYBE dipped 0.2% to 200,000 won ($144.60). Ten of the 20 companies in the index were losers this week, nine gained ground and one was unchanged. 

The index has gained 17.9% year-to-date on the strength of music streaming companies. Tencent Music Entertainment and Spotify lead all stocks with gains of 60.4% and 57.8%, respectively, through the end of May. Elsewhere, Hipgnosis Songs Fund has gained 39.7% due to the company’s pending sale to Blackstone, German concert promoter CTS Eventim is up 26.8% and Chinese music streamer Cloud Music has gained 22.7%.  

Radio company iHeartMedia has the distinction of being the top-performing music stock of the week while carrying the worst year-to-date performance. Shares of the radio giant rose 6.4% to $0.926, marking a respite from a month-long free fall during which the stock has traded below $1.00 per share over the last seven trading days. Even after this week’s gain, iHeartMedia finished the month of May down 56% and has lost 65.3% year to date.

Reservoir Media shares gained 2.4% to $8.04 this week following the company’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings release on Thursday (May 30). The company beat guidance for both revenue and adjusted EBITDA and its share price rose as much as 15.5% in the wake of the news. Following the earnings results, B Riley raised its price target for Reservoir to $11.50. 

Music streaming company LiveOne fell 6.3% to $1.65 this week after fiscal year results on Thursday showed the company’s revenue grew 19% to $118.4 million. LiveOne shares are up 17.9% year to date. 

Overall stocks were broadly down this week but performed better than the Billboard Global Music Index. In the United States, the S&P 500 dropped 0.5% to 5,277.51 and the Nasdaq composite fell 1.1% to 16,735.02. In the United Kingdom, the FTSE 100 fell 0.5% to 8,275.38. South Korea’s KOSPI composite index sank 1.9% to 2,636.52. China’s Shanghai Composite Index declined just 0.1% to 3,086.81.

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