It has been reported that Live Nation has acquired 50% of Insomniac Events for $50 million. Over the past couple of months, Robert Sillerman of SFX Entertainment wanted to purchase Insomniac Events, but it seems that Insomniac turned down his offer and has sold the majority stake over to Live Nation. Live Nation is also the owner of Hard Events and no restructuring appears to be in place.
Insomniac Events, which produces electronic dance music festivals and is known for its Electric Daisy Carnival that drew more than 300,000 fans to Las Vegas last year, would be a coup for Live Nation, the nation’s biggest concert promoter.
Live Nation had been competing over the past year with bidders including SFX Entertainment’s Robert Sillerman, who consolidated both the radio and live-entertainment industries and has been snapping up a variety companies lately that specialize in DJ-driven music, known as EDM.
Live Nation and Insomniac had no comment.
SFX had offered at least $100 million for Insomniac, according to people familiar with the matter.
Behind the fight over Insomniac is a scramble to capitalize on the growing popularity of EDM, as technology drives interest in music created on computers rather than old-fashion instruments.
A growing number of DJs now garner rock-star salaries and headline festivals where just 10 years ago they were eclipsed by singing, guitar-playing bands.
Insomniac keeps its books private, and Insomniac’s founder Pasquale Rotella was quoted in Billboard Magazine last year as saying that his company comes “very close to losing money” despite selling out most of its events.
Mr. Rotella has been mired in controversy stemming from drug-related deaths of concertgoers that attended his events. The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this year that at least 14 people who had attended Insomniac events had died in drug-related incidents since 2006.
Mr. Rotella has supported new safety measures at venues such as increasing law enforcement at festivals, warning fans about drug dangers on event websites and displaying emergency-services text numbers at events.
Mr. Rotella is under indictment on bribery and other charges in connection with raves at the Los Angeles Coliseum and adjoining Sports Arena, where county prosecutors allege he conspired with a partner to keep security costs down by making illicit payments to a stadium manager. They have pleaded not guilty.
Despite its troubled history, Insomniac has a strong brand, and the ability to attract hundreds of thousands of young fans to its rave-like events in markets around the continent.
The Electric Daisy Carnival has been held in California, Colorado, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Texas and Puerto Rico, and tickets sell out rapidly.
Insomniac also bolsters Live Nation’s growing EDM portfolio: the concert-promotion giant last year acquired Los Angeles-based dance-music-event promoter HARD Events, as well as Cream, a British company that hosts club nights in Ibiza and Creamfields festivals around the globe.
Joining with a corporate giant doesn’t appear to jibe with the image Mr. Rotella has cultivated. At a conference he organized last summer, Mr. Rotella said he didn’t want to be a promoter. “My passion is not selling tickets and making money. I want to create an experience,” he said.
Supermarket magnate Ron Burkle, who recently entered a partnership with Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte to operate music festivals and nightclubs around the country, had considered buying Insomniac Events three years ago for a lower valuation, according to a person familiar with the matter, but decided to pass.