Live Nation Names Irving Azoff Chairman

 Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg/Getty Images

NEW YORK - Live Nation Entertainment has named Irving Azoff chairman and acquired the remaining stake in artist management agency Front Line Management Group for about $116.2 million in cash and stock, the company said Monday.

Front Line founder Azoff replaces Liberty Media chairman John Malone, who has stepped down from the board after becoming interim chairman in October following a decision by IAC head Barry Diller to step down as chairman of the concert promoter.

Meanwhile, Liberty CEO Greg Maffei is joining the board.

Live Nation also said that Liberty has acquired 1.8 million shares of Live Nation for $18.8 million in cash and agreed to purchase an additional 5.5 million shares for $57.7 million to boost its stake in the firm further. It had in November boosted its stake to 18 percent.

The remaining Front Line stake had been held by Azoff and Madison Square Garden.

"Through this transaction we will further simplify and consolidate our operating structure," said Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino. "By acquiring full ownership of Front Line, we expect to benefit from substantial savings related to cash taxes, the elimination of the dividend and operating synergies resulting in an increase in our free cash flow in excess of $20 million annually.”
 

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