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Cream founder may be hired to help rescue SFX

By | Published on Monday 7 December 2015


Cream founder James Barton, currently President Of Electronic Music at Live Nation, could be heading to flagging EDM powerhouse SFX, according to the New York Post.

SFX, of course, has had a very tricky year after founder Robert FX Sillerman’s twice aborted attempt to take the company back into private ownership. The insecurity caused by those plans, coupled with disappointing financials, have resulted in the publicly listed firm’s share price tanking. It currently stands at just 24 cents – at one point Sillerman was offering $5.25 a share – which means the firm’s valuation today is just over $21 million.

Last week the company confirmed it had asked bankers Moelis & Co to review its debts, with a view to restructuring them. Meanwhile, it is thought that the business’s independent directors are still considering selling off some of the firm’s assets, which include festivals, ticketing and marketing interests, and the digital music platform Beatport.

Barton became President Of Electronic Music at Live Nation when it bought his Cream clubbing and festival company in 2012. The live giant has made a number of other big EDM acquisitions since then which, one source tells Billboard, may have resulted in other execs vying for dance music supremacy within the group, which might be why Barton is considering new roles where he might have more sway.

For SFX, Barton may be seen as a safe pair of hands to help turn round the company’s fortunes. Despite its woes this year, SFX is still sitting on a number of esteemed EDM brands, and investors may reckon that having someone on board who understands both the dance genre and the modern festival market – and who has exported festival brands worldwide before, a key part of the SFX strategy – is the best way to capitalise on that portfolio. Certainly many investors no longer see Sillerman as the man for that job.

It’s not clear exactly what position Barton would take at SFX, though the Post says he is now concluding negotiations with the company.