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SFX has a new plan, with a former AEG boss lined up to implement it

By | Published on Tuesday 26 July 2016


Don’t worry everybody, flagging EDM peddler SFX may have abandoned its original plan for getting out of bankruptcy, but it has a new plan to take its place. A new plan everybody! Let’s get those bleeps back into business.

And not only does it have a new plan, but SFX could be close to appointing a new boss too, who would be charged with the task of turning a profit from the dance music firm’s portfolio of festivals. And that potential new boss, according to the Wall Street Journal, is former AEG Live chief Randy Phillips.

As much previously reported, SFX entered chapter eleven bankruptcy protection back in February after a tumultuous year which saw founder and CEO Robert FX Sillerman desperately and unsuccessfully try to take his struggling company back into private ownership.

The firm has since sought to sell off various periphery assets to help fund a revival of the core festivals business. The main two deals to date being the sale of marketing agency FameHouse to Universal Music, and ticketing outfit Flavorus to the major’s parent company Vivendi.

Attempts to offload digital platform Beatport failed, though SFX insists that – since abandoning Beatport’s ambitious move into streaming to refocus on selling downloads – that division is actually doing alright again.

Rumours that it was key creditors who forced the original chapter eleven plan to be dropped seem to be credible given what the WSJ is reporting about the new proposed arrangement.

Under the new deal, former owners of SFX, including Sillerman, would get nothing, with primary creditors Allianz SE and Axar Capital Management LP taking control of the business. Junior creditors, including the founders of many of the festivals SFX acquired, would also be offered smaller stakes.

Phillips departed AEG in 2013 and was last seen helping UK media company Global move its entertainment division into live music and the US via a short seven month stint as CEO of Global Entertainment. Pollstar first reported that he was being interviewed for the top job at the all-new streamlined SFX last week.

If all goes to plan, SFX could emerge from bankruptcy this autumn. The firm still has some decent brands and events on its books, and the company’s new owners will presumably be hoping that Phillips – unlike Sillerman – might stay a little more focused on growing the core live entertainment side of the operation, rather than buying up any company that does something vaguely resembling dance music. Even the aforementioned Beatport might be spun off as a standalone business to allow SFX to stay focused on live events, sources say.

An announcement regarding the Phillips hire is likely imminent.