One More Thing: Live Nation and Denis Desmond still in perfect harmony
Beyonce at last year’s V Festival: Denis Desmond has signed over his minority interest in V Festival to Live Nation-Gaiety (LNG), a UK-based joint venture between his Gaiety Investments and Live Nation. photograph: samir hussein/wireimage
Desmond has signed over his minority interest in the V Festival in Britain, which was headlined last year by Beyonce, to Live Nation-Gaiety (LNG), a UK-based joint venture (JV) between his Gaiety Investments and Live Nation.
LNG has also bought out a portion of the stakes held in V by Desmond’s original partners in the event: the Academy promoter Simon Moran and Bob Angus of Metropolis Music.
The net result is that the LNG joint venture now enjoys majority control of the two-day gig, described by New Statesman as “the most commercial of festivals”.
In truth, however, Live Nation has the whip hand.
The company’s influence over Desmond’s affairs has been cemented over the last 12 months. As part of a refinancing last year with Bank of Ireland of Desmond’s €60 million debts with Bank of Scotland (Ireland), Live Nation took a charge over his 50 per cent stake in the JV. He also got a significant writedown.
Desmond, who was remarkably chipper when I called him considering he was woken in the middle of the night on the far side of the world, says the V Festival deal is “ straight share transfer, part of the consolidation of my UK operations”.
Things are looking up for his interests in 2014, he says: “This will be a good year. People are less anxious and there is more money about.”
There could be speedbumps, too, however. A legal case with John Reynolds over control of Electric Picnic (it hasn’t gone away, you know) looks set for hearing in the spring. The word is that the dispute is getting even nastier.