Promoter Denis Desmond sells MCD stake to Live Nation

MCD has been bought out in full by a UK-based company that is a 50/50 joint venture between Live Nation and Desmond’s Gaiety Investments

Denis Desmond of concer promoter MCD.  Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill / THE IRISH TIMES

Denis Desmond of concer promoter MCD. Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill / THE IRISH TIMES

 

Concert promoters Denis Desmond and Caroline Downey have effectively sold half of their promotion company, MCD Productions, to the global music behemoth Live Nation.

MCD, one of the largest concert promoters in Europe, has been bought out in full by LN-Gaiety (LNG), a UK-based company that is a 50/50 joint venture between Live Nation and Mr Desmond and Ms Downey’s Gaiety Investments.

Through Jersey-controlled Gaiety, Mr Desmond and Ms Downey previously had full ownership of MCD. By selling to LNG, they effectively retain a half share in MCD.

The value put on MCD by the transaction remains unclear, but Mr Desmond and Ms Downey are likely to have taken a significant sum off the table by selling 100 per cent to the joint venture.

Details of the move by LNG were first reported on Wednesday by the music industry magazine, Hot Press. Mr Desmond confirmed that the details in the report were accurate. When asked further to confirm that, in effect, he and Ms Downey have held on to a half stake in MCD, he replied this was “correct”.

LNG controls the Academy group of music venues in the UK and its interests in Ireland include Festival Republic, which runs Electric Picnic. The deal to bring MCD under the LNG banner is likely to mean that some of the Irish company’s day-to-day operations in future are handled from the UK.

The Hot Press report that has been confirmed by Mr Desmond said the MCD deal will have no effect on the Dublin venues, the Gaiety theatre or the Olympia, which are separately owned by Mr Desmond and Ms Downey through Gaiety Investments. It also said he will continue as chairman of LNG.

The MCD deal significantly strengthens the partnership between Mr Desmond and Live Nation, who have worked closely together in Ireland and the UK in recent years.

MCD has staged concerts over the years for stars such as Madonna and U2. Its upcoming events include concerts by Hozier, who is separately managed by Ms Downey.