Live Nation Furloughs More Than 2,000 Employees as Arenas Remain Empty

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Since April, following the domestic onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Live Nation has furloughed 20 percent of its team – approximately 2,100 employees – to cut costs and weather the pandemic’s unprecedented fiscal and operational strain.

Company officials recently confirmed the unsettling figure, and an array of reports are being published presently. However, the furloughs hardly come as a surprise, given that lockdown measures and health concerns have prompted the postponement of nearly all concerts and crowd-based events.

Moreover, as first reported by Digital Music News, Live Nation indicated in an April Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing that it would take major steps to cut costs, including renegotiating rent agreements and furloughing some workers. CEO Michael Rapino, for his part, has voluntarily relinquished his entire salary.

In late April, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia purchased a $500 million stake in Live Nation’s common stock, which amounts to over 12,337,000 shares and 5.7 percent ownership. As one would expect, the Beverly Hills-based company’s per-share stock value has suffered amid the pandemic.

However, investors appear to have approved of the mass furloughs; at the time of this writing, Live Nation’s stock, bought and sold under the symbol LYV, was trading for more than $45 per share, an approximately $5 per share (almost 13 percent) uptick on the day.

Three days back, we reported that Live Nation intends to issue $1.2 billion in debt (up from a previously planned $800 million), via senior secured notes. It’s a move to raise emergency capital ahead of a summer season that may lack some or all concerts and crowd-based live events. The notes’ investment window is expected to close this Wednesday, May 20th.

Live Nation isn’t the only live-event or entertainment-industry company that’s been forced to reduce expenses as of late. Endeavor, the Metropolitan Opera, Billboard parent Valence Media, StubHub, and Paradigm have also reigned in their payrolls.

Since March, approximately 36.5 million Americans have filed for unemployment assistance.