"I’m very proud that we made money this year, when it was a very bad year for the touring business."
——Mitch Slater, on selling MEG to Clear Channel

SLATER CLEARS THE WAY

Veteran Promoter Sells Metropolitan
to Clear Channel
Clear Channel Entertainment has purchased concert promotion company Metropolitan Entertainment Group from owner and veteran promoter Mitch Slater. Sources say the majority of the MEG staff was let go this morning.

Insiders place the purchase price in the mid-$7 million-$12 million range depending on who’s doing the talking. Slater bought the company in March from Covanta Energy Corp. for a reported $3-4 million.

"When I jumped back in in March, I knew the business was very tough," Slater told HITS. "My initial thought was that I wanted to partner up with another company. [CCE Chairman/CEO] Brian Becker and I just recognized that they are better positioned for this. I’m very proud that we made money this year, when it was a very bad year for the touring business."

Before the sale to Clear Channel, insiders said Slater had entertained offers from Philip Anschutz’s Concerts West, among others.

Slater, the co-creator of SFX, which was also bought by Clear Channel, will be leaving the promotion business for the second time in his career. He is still partnered with Robert Sillerman in talent-management company FXM, which Slater says will be announcing its new business ventures shortly.

Covanta bought MEG from concert promotion veteran John Scher. Scher resigned as President/CEO of MEG, the company he founded 30 years ago, in August 2001.

Insiders report that Scher had been asked to step inside the Clear Channel juggernaut and lead the division. However, it is more likely that Scher and partner Al Cafaro, who will be announcing their new venture in January, will compete with Clear Channel now that his non-compete clause has expired. The original third partner in Scher’s venture, Russell Kleinknecht, is no longer in the mix.

Meanwhile, Clear Channel’s model under chief Don Law will change towards one of local promotion rather than buying huge national tours, most of which have lost money this year.

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