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“We have great respect for the House of Blues employees and what they have accomplished, and we look forward to welcoming them into the Live Nation family.”
——Live Nation head Michael Rapino
HOUSES IN MOTION
House of Blues Venues Sold to Live Nation;
Hard Rock Chain May Also Be Put on Block
Wasting no time getting back to work after the Fourth of July Weekend, Live Nation announced first thing Wednesday morning it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire HOB Entertainment in a cash deal totaling  $350 million, subject to certain adjustments.  The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, assuming the customary closing conditions are met.

Under the terms of the agreement, Live Nation will acquire the 10 venues operating under the House of Blues brand, including HOBs in West Hollywood, Anaheim, Las Vegas, Chicago and Orlando, and eight amphitheaters located in such markets as Atlanta, Toronto, San Diego and Dallas.  The acquisition will give the Clear Channel spin-off  a dramatically increased presence in the growing mid-size-venue business while also allowing the company to stick some new pins in the map of the U.S. that hangs in the company’s L.A. headquarters.

“We have great respect for the House of Blues employees and what they have accomplished, and we look forward to welcoming them into the Live Nation family,” Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said of the deal.

Added his HOB counterpart, Greg Trojan: “This represents a compelling opportunity to grow our brand and accelerate the expansion of our club business, both in the United States and abroad. Together, we will be able to take live music to a new level, delivering more music on more dates in more local venues.”

The company expects to file full financial information at the closing of the transaction.  Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Morrison & Foerster advised Live Nation on the deal.

Another music-associated brand name is expected to be flying another corporate flag soon as well: The London-based Bank Group revealed Tuesday that it is seriously considering the sale of its 70 Hard Rock Café restaurants in order to concentrate on its core business of gambling. The Hard Rock chain, which started 35 years ago in London, now numbers 120 venues in 40 countries, with the rest operated under franchises.

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