10.19.2007

Live nation to buy out Signatures Network


A 'SIGNATURE' DEAL


LIVE NATION TO PURCHASE MERCHANDISING COMPANY



By PETER LAURIA





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Click to enlarge















October 19, 2007 -- Fresh from stealing Madonna from Warner Music
Group, concert promoter Live Nation is in advanced talks to acquire the
Material Girl's merchandising company, Signatures Network, The Post has
learned.

A deal for Signatures Network, which holds the rights
to license and market more than 125 artists including U2, Kanye West
and Bruce Springsteen, is expected to be announced in the next two
weeks, according to four sources close to the situation.

Live
Nation is paying around $50 million for Signatures Network, these
sources said, with one of them adding that the merchandising company
generates about $120 million in annual revenue but operates with very
small profit margins.

A spokesman for Live Nation declined to comment. Signatures Network CEO Dell Furano did not return a call for comment.


Live Nation has been quietly gobbling up ancillary businesses related
to the concert industry as a way to extend its reach and diversify its
revenue stream.

Earlier this year the company acquired the
remaining stake in high-end concert T-shirt merchandiser Trunk it
didn't already own.

Last month it acquired the 50 percent
portion of UltraStar it did not own. UltraStar runs the official artist
Web sites for Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Police and others.

Live Nation also recently bought fan club ticketing service Musictoday and merchandising company Ant Hill Trading.


Signatures Network is bigger than all of those assets combined,
however, with sources saying that the $50 million Live Nation is
shelling out for the company is twice what it paid for the others.


Though it has focused solely on tour merchandising in the past, sources
said Signatures Network was now looking to strike all-encompassing
rights deals that would also include things like fragrances and
accessories in addition to tour-related merchandise.

peter.lauria@nypost.com



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