Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thanks for the shares, but Bono wants his money

Back when LiveNation signed up U2, part of the deal was a large chunk of LiveNation stock being transferred to the Dutch band. Presumably LiveNation hoped that this would give Bono and his chums a sharper interest in performing well - if they do well, the company does well; if the company does well, they will do well. A virtuous circle.

Unfortunately, U2 have decided they'll rather have the cash, and have flogged off their shares. Even more unpleasantly for LiveNation, the company had promised to guarantee the stock would be worth at USD25million - a guarantee which might have been wise when the deal was struck, but which is looking a little sick now that the markets have got troubles.

Indeed, the stock has plummeted so far that LiveNation are going to have to find USD19million for U2.

It's not entirely clear that it makes sense to suddenly pitch up to your employer and demand - in straightened times - that they find millions and millions of dollars from somewhere; it might be thought of as a little self-defeating to give financial problems to the company to whom you look for investment in your career. Perhaps U2 really, badly need the money. Or maybe they were just afraid that the stock value of LiveNation could have wiped out the company before they got a chance to cash it in. Could it be that U2 know what a stinker the next U2 album will be?