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Liberty Media boss becomes Live Nation chair

By | Published on Monday 18 October 2010

John Malone, the boss of American conglom Liberty Media Corp, will take on the job of Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment on a temporary basis while a permanent replacement is found. Malone will take over from Barry Diller who announced his intent to stand down from the Chairman’s post last month.

Although Diller said he’d always intended to give up the role once the merger of Live Nation with his company Ticketmaster was completed, there were rumours his departure had been caused by rising tensions between him and the merged Live Master’s top two execs, Irving Azoff and Michael Rapino. Others said Diller was annoyed the merger had really resulted in a Live Nation takeover of his ticketing company.

But there were another set of rumours that said Diller’s decision to go was really because of tensions between him and Malone who, having bought 14% of Live Nation, had won a place on the company’s board. Relationships between the two businessmen have been fractious ever since Diller’s decision to break up part of his InterActiveCorp business in 2008, a move which made Ticketmaster a stand alone company, and which affected Malone because he was an IAC shareholder.

Although Live Nation have been keen to downplay any talk of board room tensions being behind Diller’s departure from the top job, the fact he originally said he’d stay in the chair until a full time replacement could be found, but now Malone has stepped in, will only heighten the rumours. And things could stay a bit tense, given Diller will stay on the Live Nation board even once he ceases to be Chair.