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Take a pass on Live Nation, this investor says

It was a good trade while it lasted, but investors shouldn’t be wooed by a drop in share price from Live Nation Entertainment (Live Nation Entertainment Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials NYSE:LYV), according to portfolio manager Brian Madden, who got out of the stock earlier last year.

“This one was not long for this world or at least not long for inclusion in our portfolios,” said Madden, CIO at First Avenue Investment Counsel, who spoke on BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday. 

“We’re very objective and when the facts change, we’ll change our mind and change our portfolios, and that’s exactly what we did in early May of last year in selling this stock at around $87,” he said.

Live Nation Entertainment, which is made up of events promoter and venue operator Live Nation and ticket sales platform Ticketmaster, has once again been put under the spotlight, with music fans crying foul after Taylor Swift tickets went on sale this past November, only to have Ticketmaster’s website go down. The company blamed the avalanche of traffic, but critics claim the company ultimately has too much power over the concert-going market, with currently a 70 per cent lock on the ticketing and live event venues market, according to a recent CNBC report. Consternation went as far as the US Senate Judiciary Committee last month, where Senators grilled company representatives about its grip on the concert market.

But such problems aside, Madden thinks investors only have to look at the stock chart to see that the market has already had its fun with LYV by factoring in a post-COVID return of concertgoers, a phenomenon which has come to pass.

“The intersection of technical analysis with the chart not behaving well and macro-thematic considerations, namely, them lapping the reopening impulse [are factors],” he said. “Everybody wanted to get out of their house and go to concerts and shows, so there was euphoria over that kind of thing.”

Madden said markets will often look past a downturn or trough and the same applies to peaks like the one Live Nation went through over the second half of 2020 and through all of 2021. That was followed up by a pullback which began early last year. 

“[We took] the view that this reopening impulse is soon going to be coming to an end and the market has been starting to discount it, as shares traded considerably lower after we sold it,” Madden said.

From the early COVID ebb in 2020 to the end of 2021, LYV tripled in value, going from about $40 per share to a high around $120. Over the past few months, the stock has been trading in the $70-$80 range.

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