Irving Azoff Partners With MSG For New Entertainment Venture
September 5, 2013
Irving Azoff's Azoff Music Management (AMM) has announced a new partnership with The Madison Square Garden Company, creating "a new music, media and entertainment company focused on continuing the development of AMM's existing businesses and exploring new ventures and growth opportunities that maximize opportunities for clients, partners and associated brands." The new company has been dubbed Azoff MSG Entertainment LLC.
Azoff MSG Entertainment is described as "a new-model music, media and entertainment company, at the forefront of the emerging revenue streams and groundbreaking technologies of the fast-changing 21st century, which will put artists and their fans first, and create ongoing opportunities for artists and talent in today's changing marketplace, maximizing their potential through innovative marketing, branding and live events."
AMM will contribute to the company its existing artist management business and other businesses that are in development. A subsidiary of MSG will pay AMM $125 million for a 50 percent interest in the company and will also agree to provide up to $50 million of revolving credit loans to the company.
The Company is expected to be a platform for the future growth of MSG, and will commence business with four integrated units:
• Azoff Music Management – Irving Azoff will continue to provide management services to such superstar clients as the Eagles, Van Halen, Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, Christina Aguilera and Steely Dan and other long standing Azoff clients.
• Global Music Rights – The Company will own a 90 percent interest in a music publishing venture run by CEO RandyGrimmett and COO Sean O'Malley, whose business is the acquisition, development, licensing and exploitation of copyrighted works for the purposes of music publishing, co-publishing, licensing, administering, developing a musical library, and acting as an agent on behalf of such works. Grimmett and O'Malley bring with them more than 25 years of combined experience of music publishing in public performance royalty licensing and distribution.
• Television Production and Live Event Branding -- A new television production and live event branding unit, to be headed by Lawrence Randall, former head of programming and entertainment for the National Football League. The unit will acquire, develop, produce and exploit live and televised event entertainment through organic growth and acquisitions.
• Digital Brand Architects (DBA) – The Company will own a 50 percent ownership interest in this business in support of its growth and expansion plans. DBA is managed by Karen Robinovitz, Raina Penchansky and Kendra Bracken-Ferguson. DBA manages more than 70 notable bloggers, connects them with brands, and provides consultancy services to many brands looking to exploit opportunities in the social media network space. Allison Statter will oversee and coordinate this unit on behalf of the Company.
• In addition, the company will partner with Brian Schuster and leading digital technology company ACTV8, along with United Talent Agency, in a worldwide rollout of Streets of the City. It is the first ever completely interactive, live music discovery TV show that allows viewers to scout street talent and support contestants on the show through crowd-funding on TV.
"This joint venture provides a unique opportunity for MSG to strengthen its position within the music, entertainment and media landscape in conjunction with Irving Azoff – one of the true giants of the industry," MSG Executive Chairman James Dolan said. "Our previous investment with Irving's companies provided a positive return for MSG, and we believe this new venture offers us a compelling platform from which to capitalize on the enormous opportunities inherent in today's dynamic entertainment environment."
"The mission of our new venture is to go into a business where we can better an artist's welfare, well-being and their ability to market their products," Azoff added. "We're looking for artist-friendly and, as a result, fan-friendly projects. One way we'll accomplish this is by supporting talent's vision and committing capital, along with management consultation, in a variety of fields, to assist the artists in realizing their creative vision."
In addition to his role as Chairman/CEO of the company, Irving Azoff will provide consultancy and advisory services to MSG in connection with the management of its live event venues. This includes the Forum in Inglewood, CA, which MSG acquired in June of 2013, and other MSG-managed buildings.
In turn, in addition to its financial investment in the Company, MSG executives will provide the company with consulting services based on their years of experience in live event production.
The consummation of the transaction is subject to customary governmental filings and other customary conditions. LionTree Advisors served as MSG's financial advisor on the transaction.