- 15 Aug 18
In a deal that has potentially important repercussions for music in Ireland, MCD Productions has been bought in full by a long-standing joint venture between MCD owners Denis and Caroline Desmond and Live Nation in the UK
Ireland’s MCD Productions has been bought by LNG, Hot Press has learned.
LNG is a joint venture between the global concert promoters Live Nation and Gaiety Investments, the company owned by Denis Desmond (pictured above on left with Lord Henry Mountcharles at the launch of the 2011 Kings of Leon @ Slane show in October 2010) and his wife Caroline Downey. Denis is the man who put MCD on the world map as promoters, consistently bringing many of the biggest acts in the world to Ireland over the past 40 years, including Madonna, Coldplay, Eminem, Beyoncé, Michael Bublé, Taylor Swift, Snow Patrol, Guns N’Roses, The Script, Westlife and, of course, U2. He has been Chairman of Live Nation UK and Ireland for the past number of years and will continue in that role.
LNG are the owners of the Academy Group of venues in the UK, including Brixton Academy; and of Festival Republic, the UK-based promoters who run Electric Picnic, in addition to a host of festivals in the UK and Europe, including Reading, Leeds, Latitude, and many more.
Denis and Caroline’s son, Zach Desmond, is behind Longitude, the festival which takes place annually in Marlay Park and has sold out every year. This year’s line up included Travis Scott, Solange, Post Malone, J Cole, and Migos.
Hot Press understands that the deal to bring MCD under the LNG banner will not affect either the Gaiety Theatre or the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, which are owned separately by Denis Desmond and Caroline Downey’s Gaiety Investments.
Caroline Downey is also the manager of the hugely successful Hozier, and Irish brotherly duo, Hudson Taylor. Hozier has just announced three intimate gigs at the Academy in Dublin, in support of Safe Ireland, One In Four and the Peter McVerry Trust, coinciding with the release of his first music since his debut album took the charts by storm all over the world, also scheduled for September. His US Tour, also set for September, including three nights at Beacon Theatre, New York, sold out in a day.
Live Nation are the biggest concert promoters in the world, currently operational in over 40 countries. They own major festival brands like Creamfields, Lollapalooza, Falls Festival, EDC and numerous others. They are also the operators of a number of venues in Ireland, including 3Arena, Bord Gais Energy Theatre, the Gaiety Theatre and the Olympia.
“This has to be a positive development for Irish musicians and bands,” one London-based agent told Hot Press. “The group has an imprint all over the world, and there is a strong Irish presence in the company. This is a deal which strengthens that link, and will result in a greater level of access for Irish artists to festival bills and touring abroad."
The news coincides with the announcement that Live Nation UK and Ireland president, Paul Latham, has retired. Latham began his career with the Apollo Leisure Group and joined what would become the Live Nation family of companies in 1999, when Apollo were bought by SFX, with Latham becoming VP of Operations. He was appointed President of Live Nation UK in 2002, and became Chief Operating Officer in 2009.
“It has been my pleasure to know and work with my good friend Paul Latham for 28 years,” Denis Desmond said of his departing colleague. "Paul's many achievements over the years speak for themselves, not only in the commercial world but also the charities he has tirelessly helped. Wishing Paul every happiness on his retirement.”