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House of Blues Raises Money to Help Launch New Venues

The concert firm gets $35 million from J.P. Morgan and an L.A. firm plus a bank debt line of $75 million.

March 23, 2004|Arlene Martinez | Times Staff Writer

An infusion of cash will allow House of Blues Entertainment Inc. to expand in the U.S., the company said Monday.

House of Blues said it would open new clubs with money from two investors -- $30 million from Ares Management and $5 million from J.P. Morgan Partners -- plus a $75-million line of credit with Banc of America Securities and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

There are House of Blues venues in seven U.S. cities, including Anaheim, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Chicago. A Cleveland location is set to debut in the fall and the company hopes to launch a House of Blues in San Diego by the end of the year, Chief Executive Greg Trojan said. The firm also owns or operates 21 amphitheaters and owns a hotel in Chicago, part of the Loews Hotel chain.

The privately held company, based in Los Angeles, had close to $400 million in sales in 2003, Trojan said, and is expected to do about the same this year.

"People are amazed there's only seven House of Blues clubs," he said. "The brand is so much bigger than the size of our club business."

That appealed to Ares, which is also based in L.A.

"It's in demand from cities across North America. It's a dynamic place that attracts people from a wide range of demographics," Ares partner Eric Beckman said. "That makes it very interesting to advertising sponsors."

Trojan said House of Blues, whose clubs are known for their diversity of musical performers, planned to open three to five venues a year that would book a variety of artists, including Tony Bennett and Anthony Hamilton.

House of Blues also will continue to actively promote Latin music, said Trojan, who added that House of Blues was among the largest promoters nationally of the genre.

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