Embattled music executive Robert Sillerman, who founded the company that would eventually become ticketing and concert giant Live Nation, has died at the age of 71.
Raised in the Bronx, New York and the son of a radio station owner, Robert F.X. Sillerman started SFX Broadcasting in 1978, which was a play on his name. He did this by growing a group of radio stations from two that he purchased in upstate New York. A few decades later, this had grown into the seventh largest broadcasting company in the United States.
Sillerman eventually sold all the radio stations in 1998 for $2.1 billion while maintaining two small concert promotion companies.
With these two companies, he created SFX Entertainment, which went on to purchase a number of other U.S. concert promoters, such as Delsener/Slater Enterprises and Pace Concerts. He then sold this company for $4.4 billion to Clear Nation, who would afterward spin off the company into Live Nation.
But Sillerman was not finished in the music industry. In 2012, he relaunched SFX. This time as an electronic music company, by buying such companies as React Presents and ID&T.
Though all did not go well for this new incarnation of SFX.
In 2016, SFX filed for bankruptcy prior to reemerging as LiveStyle. This was followed by Sillerman’s resignation and a slew of lawsuits that he found himself involved in.
In July of this year, things got even worse for Sillerman. He and other SFX executives settled stock fraud allegations brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. They accused him of both diverting company money to his own accounts and misrepresenting the financial health of his company when looking to attract investors.
The settlement entailed Sillerman and the others paying a $7.5 million penalty. Though they avoided having to admit any guilt.
In his long and varied career, Robert Sillerman also had success as a Broadway entrepreneur. He was the executive producer of Mel Brooks’ blockbuster update of The Producers.