As Townsquare Media continues its evolution into a live events and digital marketing company that happens to own radio stations, The Madison Square Garden Company has purchased a 12% stake in the company.
MSG has purchased the stake from GE Capital to add to their Live Events management business that includes ownership of Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, and Beacon Theatre in New York, Chicago Theatre, and The Forum in Inglewood CA, co-booking of the Wang Theatre in Boston, and with Irving Azoff a partnership known as Azoff MSG Entertainment that manages live events and concert tours across the country. Azoff MSG is also planning to build a 17,500 seat music arena in Las Vegas.
Townsquare has been beefing up its live events business in recent years as it now runs over 550 events annually including the Taste of Country Music Festival, Mountain Jam, and multiple state fairs including Illinois, Kentucky and South Carolina.
Townsquare Media, Inc. (NYSE: TSQ) (“Townsquare”) and The Madison Square Garden Company (NYSE: MSG) (“MSG”) announced today that MSG has acquired an approximately 12 percent common equity stake in Townsquare, a leading media, entertainment and digital marketing solutions company.
“We are thrilled that MSG has elected to become a shareholder of our Company, and we look forward to collaborating with them in the future. MSG is a leading provider of live entertainment with world class venues and there is no doubt that we will benefit from having their support,” said Steven Price, Townsquare Chairman and CEO.
David O’Connor, president and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company, commented, “Using its diversified portfolio of radio stations, digital assets and live events, Townsquare creates compelling content that brings people together and builds communities. We understand and share their belief in the value of exceptional, live experiences, and look forward to working together through this new partnership — which is another opportunity that our partner, Irving Azoff, brought to our attention –to drive additional value and growth for both businesses.”
“I have had the opportunity to work with Steven and the Townsquare team closely this past year. These guys really excel and are a perfect complement to what we are building at Azoff MSG Entertainment. When this opportunity presented itself, my partners at MSG enthusiastically invested. I look forward to deepening our relationship and working on both existing and new projects with Townsquare and MSG,” said Irving Azoff, chairman and CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment.
MSG and Townsquare will seek to utilize their shared experience in music and live events to explore bookings, sponsorship and marketing opportunities, as well as the potential expansion of Townsquare’s live offerings. MSG’s investment in Townsquare will also provide MSG with additional insight into the festival business, which MSG has been exploring as part of its larger goal to strengthen and expand its position in the live experience space.
In addition to owning local market-leading radio stations in 66 markets and digital media assets that reach more than 60 million unique visitors per month, Townsquare’s live offerings include approximately 550 events in the U.S. and Canada that attract nearly 18 million attendees each year. These national, regional and local events include acclaimed music festivals such as Mountain Jam, WE Fest and the Taste of Country Music Festival; and unique lifestyle and entertainment events such as the America on Tap craft beer festival series, as well as fairs and festivals through Townsquare’s ownership of North American Midway Entertainment, North America’s largest mobile amusement company.
MSG’s live experience offerings include world-class venues, original productions and professional sports teams, along with live festivals through its controlling interest in Boston Calling Events, LLC, the owner and operator of New England’s premier Boston Calling Music Festival, and its 50 percent ownership of Tribeca Enterprises, best known for the acclaimed Tribeca Film Festival.
MSG purchased approximately 3.2 million shares of GE Capital’s Class C Common Stock in a private transaction, which represents an approximately 12% common equity interest in Townsquare, inclusive of outstanding warrants.
Upon closing, this stock immediately converted to Class A shares. Townsquare did not receive any proceeds from this transaction. Additional information may be found in the Form 8-K that will be filed by Townsquare with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition to MSG’s share purchase, Townsquare’s Chairman and CEO, Steven Price is purchasing 50,000 shares of GE Capital’s Class C Common Stock, which will also convert to Class A shares.
Irving Azoff is an American entertainment executive and personal manager, representing recording artists and entertainers such as Christina Aguilera, Eagles, John Mayer, Gwen Stefani, Van Halen, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Steely Dan, Chelsea Handler and Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac. Since September 2013, he has been chairman and CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment, a venture with The Madison Square Garden Company. Prior to this, he served as chairman and CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment and was Executive Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and CEO of Front Line Management.