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Could Azoff take Live Nation into private hands?

By | Published on Monday 13 June 2011

Live Nation

Live Nation co-chief Irving Azoff is reportedly talking to the live music firm’s biggest shareholder, Liberty Media boss John Malone, about staging a buy out of the company, so to put it in private hands, according to the New York Post.

The paper admitted that such talks are at a very early stage, and are just one of a number of options being considered by Azoff, who is seemingly keen to take the currently publicly traded company out of the glare of American analysts and financial journalists.

Live Nation, of course, has struggled a little since its mega-merger with Ticketmaster as the upper-end of the American live sector suffered from a slump in ticket sales. While things are improving, it’s thought Azoff believes it would be easier for him and co-chief Michael Rapino to revamp the company if it was in private hands.

Azoff and Malone would need to raise over £2 billion to finance a buy out, and it’s thought that the former would rely on equity types Thomas H Lee Partners to bring in some of the cash, he having worked closely with them before. Live Nation Entertainment, of course, now includes the Live Nation venue and tour promotion businesses as well as Ticketmaster and Azoff’s Front Line Management.