By DEBORAH CROWE
Los Angeles Business Journal Staff
Ticketmaster shares plunged 18 percent on Thursday after Live Nation Inc. said it signed a seven-year deal to sell tickets at North American venues managed by SMG, one of the nation’s largest operators of arenas, stadiums and theaters.
SMG, which is owned by private equity fund American Capital LTD, is considered to be West Hollywood-based Ticketmaster's second largest customer. It manages such facilities as San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, Chicago's Soldier Field, and New Orleans' Superdome.
Live Nation is launching its own ticketing service to compete with its current vendor Ticketmaster once their contract expires at the end of the year. The agreement with the Philadelphia-based SMG helps move the Los Angeles concert promoter into the ticketing business beyond its own venues.
The deal, which will start in late 2009, should result in a 25 percent annual increase in the 13 million tickets the company expects to sell over the next seven years, Live Nation said.
Ticketmaster shares closed down $3.32 to $15.45 on the Nasday. Live Nation shares closed up $1.03, or 6.5 percent, to $16.90 on the New York Stock Exchange.