Live Nation Entertainment announced today that Irving Azoff, Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and CEO of its Front Line Management Group, has resigned from the Board of Directors and as an employee of the company, effective immediately. In conjunction with this change, Liberty Media Corporation has purchased 1.7 million shares of Live Nation stock from Azoff, increasing its stake to 26.4 percent.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Azoff's next move will be to join the Board of Directors for cable network Starz, which is also owned by Liberty Media. Liberty is Live Nation's biggest shareholder, while its quest for control of SiriusXM has been a major story over the past year. Liberty is expected to spin off Starz early in 2013.
"After successfully overseeing the integration of Live Nation and Ticketmaster over the past two years, my job here is done. We put together the leading company across concert promotion, ticketing, sponsorship and artist management and delivered the great results promised by the merger," stated Azoff. "I especially enjoyed my time with my partner Michael Rapino, and he has demonstrated the ability to lead this company from now on. I'm looking forward to returning to the entrepreneurial world and continuing to work with all my friends and colleagues at Live Nation."
"Irving has been a valuable partner and friend for the past few years," said Rapino, President/CEO of Live Nation Entertainment. "We will certainly miss him and we thank him for his many contributions in building Live Nation to the global company it is today, entertaining 50 million fans and selling 200 million tickets in more than 40 countries around the world. I look forward to continuing to work with Irving on his artists' tours for years to come."
"I want to thank Irving for his leadership since the merger. While he has played a key role in setting Live Nation on a path for success, we understand his entrepreneurial desires," said Greg Maffei, lead external director for Live Nation Entertainment's Board of Directors, and President/CEO of Liberty Media. "Live Nation is now well positioned and we have tremendous confidence in Michael Rapino and his leadership team."
In a statement, Live Nation said it does not expect the departure of Azoff and associated restructurings to have any material impact on its ongoing operating results.