Irving Azoff, the executive chairman of Live Nation Entertainment, left the concert-promotion giant’s board and resigned as an executive, the company said. The music-industry vet is taking with him his business managing the Eagles, Christina Aguilera and a handful of other major acts.
Azoff’s contract hadn’t been due to expire until mid-2014. Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino’s contract, also due to expire in 2014, was recently renewed until 2017. In an SEC filing, Live Nation said that in connection with Azoff’s departure it was paying him nearly $12 million cash and would accelerate the vesting of nearly two million shares and 664,000 options.
Azoff is prohibited from competing with Live Nation until the date in mid-2014 when his contract would have expired. He’s allowed to continue managing his personal-management clients, but none of the dozens of managers who worked in Live Nation’s talent-management division will be going with him.
Live Nation and its corporate predecessors acquired the division, Front Line Management, from Azoff and will continue to own it after his departure.
Azoff is expected to join the board of Starz, the cable network owned by Liberty Media which also is Live Nation’s biggest shareholder, reported The Wall Street Journal. Liberty plans to spin Starz off in early 2013. As part of Azoff’s exit, Liberty Media bought 1.7 million Live Nation shares from him. The deal increases Liberty Media’s stake to 26.4%.