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The Nickelback deal was Warner’s to make when Cohen inserted himself into the talks, over-negotiating the 360 aspects of the deal and opening the door for Live Nation.

I.B. BAD ON THE MAD, MAD WORLD OF WARNER MUSIC

Cohen Takes Stock—$6.8 Million Worth—but He Doesn't Get His Nickelback
Looking at the industry’s favorite subject, the ever-tumultuous Warner Music Group, the latest talk has Tom Whalley possibly remaining as the head of Warner/Reprise but reporting to Edgar Bronfman Jr. rather than to his arch-nemesis, Lyor Cohen.

Meanwhile, details about WMG’s attempt to re-sign Nickelback continue to emerge. According to insiders, the deal was Warner’s to make when Cohen inserted himself into the talks, over-negotiating the 360 aspects of the deal and opening the door for Live Nation. These insiders further explain that Cohen over-valued his relationship with the band, which dates back to his IDJ/Roadrunner days, and was blind-sided by the Live Nation deal.

Given this multimillion-dollar misstep, WMG bean counters are praying Cohen will not involve himself in the negotiations between the company and Metallica, who are primed to join the ongoing WMG artist exodus.

Given Cohen’s lack of reliability, many are baffled by Edgar’s insistence on keeping Lyor in place. One theory is that Bronfman is not savvy enough or sufficiently involved on a day-to-day basis to grasp the gravity of the situation. Another is that he simply doesn’t want to admit he was wrong in making the hire.

In related news, Cohen on Monday sold 800k shares of WMG stock at $8.45 per share, for a total of $6.76 million, an SEC filing reveals. That’s nearly a quarter of the 2.6 million shares he still holds. Warner employees are naturally wondering why he would sell at a time when the share price is so low.

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