Kilimanjaro Live and Gigantic Tickets-owner Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) has acquired a 90% stake in promoter UK Live, owner of 1980s festival brand Let’s Rock and festivals including the Penn Festival. It also promotes concerts by acts including Craig David, Kim Wilde, Rick Astley and the Kaiser Chiefs.
Founded by Nick Billinghurst and Matt Smith in 2009, UK Live has invested in its own infrastructure, including staging and marquees. DEAG said Billinghurst and Smith will stay on board as shareholders and will continue to manage the company in the long term.
Berlin-based pan-European promoter, venue operator and ticketing conglomerate DEAG said the acquisition of UK Live is being carried out by its UK subsidiary Kilimanjaro Holdings Ltd. The move follows the acquisition of a majority stake in Gigantic in December 2019, having already acquired the promoter The Flying Music Group in 2017 and Belladrum Festival in Scotland in 2018. Kilimanjaro acquired a stake in Collective Form Ltd earlier this year.
DEAG also strengthened its market position in the UK and Ireland in the autumn 2020 by founding the joint venture Singular Artists in Ireland. It said the acquisition of UK Live as well as continued growth in the ticketing industry in the UK, especially through the cooperation with the platforms myticket.co.uk and Gigantic.com, will enable DEAG to expand its interest in its second biggest market – the UK.
DEAG executive board member Detlef Kornett said that in view of the positive development with regard to the vaccination situation in its core markets, the company expects to see its business activities increasingly return to normal in the coming months: “We are already setting the course for a continuation of our successful business development and can further expand our strong market position in the UK with the acquisition of UK Live. UK Live has its own productions and independently covers the complete infrastructure from stage set-up to technology. By focusing on the domestic market, UK Live’s business activities are hardly affected by the Brexit. The partnership with UK Live offers us potential, especially for our ticketing and live entertainment business. For example, we will offer tickets for UK Live events for sale exclusively through Gigantic.com.”
Kilimanjaro CEO Stuart Galbraith (pictured) said the acquisition of UK Live adds attractive events and concerts to its portfolio: “Nick Billinghurst and Matt Smith have many years of experience in the live entertainment industry and have shaped UK Live from its early days with Let’s Rock The Moor with 1,000 visitors to a successful company with over a dozen festivals and countless concerts within only a few years. Today, the four series of events Let’s Rock, Penn Fest, Friday Night Live Norwich, and Sunday Sessions alone attract over 200,000 visitors annually.”
Billinghurst, MD of UK Live said, “With DEAG we have a strong partner on our side, with whom we are ideally positioned for the post-Corona era. Together we will soon be presenting our audience with top-class concerts and events again. I am sure that both sides will benefit from our merger in the long term.”