By Aaron Greenwood
US music industry powerhouse acquires Dubai-based Mirage Promotions.
The world's largest music promoter and concert organiser, Live Nation, has acquired a 65 percent stake in Dubai-based Mirage Promotions.
Mirage managing director Elissa Murtaza, who will take the reins of the newly formed Live Nation Middle East, said the deal "married the biggest generic entertainment provider in the world, with an established regional promoter".
"From our side, Mirage brings to the table 17 years of high level regional contacts and clients. Live Nation can provide the experience, global clout and infrastructure to turn our clientele's ideas into reality," she said.
Murtaza explained that merger discussions between the two parties commenced more than four years ago, "but the momentum only recently swung towards a resolution".
"While our core focus will remain on the burgeoning UAE market, [this deal] provides us with an opportunity to expand our operations. Our new partnership with Live Nation will help us accelerate our growth across the region by providing us with access to top-flight talent and resources."
Live Nation made headlines last year after signing a US$120m deal with Madonna which made her the founding artist of its Artist Nation division. The deal includes recording and performance rights and was billed as the future of the music industry. The takeover also comes less than a month after the departure of long-term Mirage GM, Thomas Ovesen, from the company.
"Management staff not integral to our future strategy have moved on; remaining personnel are being given the opportunity to grow [sic] with our expansion plans," said Murtaza. "We will be looking to fill specialised roles as new projects develop."
It is not known what impact the deal will have on Mirage's existing partnership with Music World Entertainment (MWE), which gave Mirage exclusive rights to artists such as Destiny's Child, who performed in Dubai in 2005. Live Nation has working relationships with 500 artists and has recently produced tours for U2, The Rolling Stones and Coldplay. The deal is likely to increase the chance of many of these top billing artists performing in the Middle East in the future.
While Live Nation owns or operates some of the world's most famous venues, including The Fillmore in San Francisco and Wembley Arena in London, it is not known whether the company will look to acquire or establish its own venues in the Middle East. The company also boasts an extensive online presence, providing services including ticketing and event information.