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Irving Azoff exits Live Nation, will retain artist clients

December 31, 2012|By Todd Martens
  • Irving Azoff in late 2012.
Irving Azoff in late 2012. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty…)

Irving Azoff, the chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and outspoken manager of the Eagles, has left the management and concert promotion giant, the Los Angeles-based company said Monday.

In conjunction with the move, effective immediately, Liberty Media Corporation has purchased 1.7 million shares of Live Nation stock from Azoff. Liberty Media now owns a 26.4% stake in Live Nation Entertainment. 

Azoff has resigned from Live Nation's board of directors and his role as CEO of Front Line Management, which represents more than 250 artists.

Azoff will, however, maintain control of his own management firm and will continue to oversee the careers of "a handful" of major artists, according to a source familiar with the negotiations but not authorized to speak publicly. 

In addition to the Eagles, artists working with Front Line include Christina Aguilera, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Fleetwood Mac and Kenny Chesney, among others, but it was unclear which artists would be leaving with Azoff. 

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In a statement released by Live Nation, Azoff said, "I'm looking forward to returning to the entrepreneurial world and continuing to work with all my friends and colleagues at Live Nation."

"I look forward to continuing to work with Irving on his artists' tours for years to come," said Michael Rapino, the president/CEO of Live Nation Entertainment.

In an SEC filing last week, Live Nation revealed that it had extended Rapino's contract through 2017 with an annual base salary of $2.3 million.

Azoff, according to the Wall Street Journal, is joining the board of cable company Starz, owned by Liberty Media. Early in 2013 Liberty Media plans to spin off the premium network and its sister channel Encore into a new, stand-alone, publicly traded company.

Live Nation spokeswoman Jacqueline Peterson declined to comment. Larry Solters, who represents Azoff, did not respond to requests for comment.

Live Nation in 2011 finalized its purchase of Front Line by paying $116.2 million to Azoff and Madison Square Garden. With the purchase, Azoff became chairman of Live Nation, which in 2010 merged with the country's largest ticket seller, Ticketmaster, in a deal worth $889 million.

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