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TodayInMusic: Live Nation snaps up rest of Front Line

Christina Aguilera and Irving Azoff, chairman of Live Nation (Photo:Reuters)

Christina Aguilera and Irving Azoff, chairman of Live Nation (Photo:Reuters)

Lots of medium-sized developments at Live Nation Entertainment today. 

Firstly, the world’s largest concert promoter and leading ticketing company has taken full control of Front Line Management after spending $116.2 milion to buy the remaining stake it did not already own.

That stake was held by Live Nation’s executive chairman Irving Azoff and Madison Square Garden. It means Azoff has an increased position in the company, as does MSG. Front Line was founded by Azoff and manages over 250 artists including The Eagles, Christina Aguilera and Neil Diamond.

Other important changes at Live Nation include interim non-executive chairman John Malone stepping down from the board. You might recall he became interim chair after fellow media mogul Barry Diller stepped down as chairman last fall after a boardroom power struggle.

 Malone, who is chairman of Liberty Media, is effectively being replaced by Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei, who has also been named head of the Live Nation’s newly-formed executive committee.

Meanwhile, Liberty Media has increased its stake in the business and made a commitment to buy more shares subject to shareholder approval.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster: “Don’t stop Believing”

Live Nation and Ticketmaster might have plenty of people out there who are not pleased with the idea of the two companies coming together but they have received support from several superstars in the run-up to a U.S. anti-trust hearing in Washington DC on Tuesday.

Names like Seal, Shakira, Journey, Van Halen and Billy Corgan (The Smashing Pumpkins) have all offered support to a merger some legislators, smaller rivals and fan groups worry will put too much power over the U.S. and global live music industry in the hands of just one company.

Some of the superstars have long-running relationships with Live Nation’s concert promotion business or are clients of Front Line Management, the artist management firm owned by Ticketmaster. Front Line has more than 200 acts under its wing giving it plenty of leverage in dealing with many promoters, venues and even record labels.