German promoter DEAG has continued its international expansion with the acquisition of a 90% stake in British event organiser UK Live via its Kilimanjaro Live subsidiary.
UK Live is one of the largest independent promoters in the UK and has worked on shows by acts such as Craig David, Kim Wilde, Rick Astley and Kaiser Chiefs. It is also active in the areas of artist booking, stage construction and event technology, and runs the Let’s Rock music festival in 14 cities in the UK.
The company's founders and MDs, Nick Billinghurst and Matt Smith, will stay on board as shareholders and will continue to manage the company in the long term.
“The acquisition of UK Live adds attractive events and concerts to our events portfolio,” said Stuart Galbraith, CEO of Kilimanjaro. “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 and Sunday Sessions alone attract over 200,000 visitors annually. We are particularly looking forward to working with Nick, Matt and the UK Live team on the next phase of growth for these brilliant festivals.”
With DEAG, we have a strong partner on our side
Nick Billinghurst, UK Live
Billinghurst added: “We are very excited about our future collaboration with DEAG and look forward to driving our growth journey together. 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.”
DEAG previously acquired promoter The Flying Music Group in 2017 and Belladrum Festival in Scotland in 2018, along with a majority stake in UK ticketing company Gigantic in December 2019, while Kilimanjaro acquired a stake in Collective Form Ltd in early 2021.
DEAG also strengthened its market position in the UK and Ireland in autumn 2020 by founding the joint venture Singular Artists in Ireland.
“In view of the positive development with regard to the vaccination situation in our core markets, we expect to see our business activities increasingly return to normal in the coming months," said DEAG executive board member Detlef Kornett. "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."