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Azoff ally resigns from Live Nation board

By | Published on Tuesday 26 February 2013

Live Nation

The Executive Chairman of Madison Square Garden Company resigned his seat on the board of Live Nation last week, somewhat abruptly. Though it’s thought James Dolan’s departure may be the logical conclusion of Irving Azoff’s exiting from the live music giant at the end of last year, rather than the result of any internal conflict.

Dolan, also CEO of MSG’s parent company Cablevision, came to the Live Nation board table via his friendship and business dealings with Azoff. Venue operator MSG bought a minority stake in Azoff’s Front Line management company in 2008. Ticketmaster then took control of Front Line the same year, before merging with Live Nation two years later, with Azoff rising to Chairman of the combined Live Nation/Ticketmaster business, and Dolan getting a seat on the board of the combined company.

As previously reported, Azoff departed Live Nation rather suddenly on New Years Eve, seemingly frustrated with the constraints of running a large publicly listed company, and recognising the tax benefits of a quick exit. Insiders say Dolan just wasn’t interested on sitting on a board without Azoff at the top of the table. Whether the move will also see MSG offload its stake in Live Nation, thought to be about 2% of the company overall, remains to be seen.

Billboard notes that Dolan stepping away from Live Nation will also remove any possible politics over the Los Angeles Forum, acquired by MSG last year and currently being revamped. MSG’s small stake in Live Nation doesn’t stop it from working with other promoters at its various venues, including namesake the Madison Square Garden in New York. But some reckoned Dolan’s Live Nation board role might have been particularly stressful when it came to the Los Angeles Forum working with the live giant’s rivals, the competition between Live Nation and AEG being particularly fierce in the LA market.