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If the deal does go down, it will bring together two of the industry’s most aggressive gunslingers while uniting two of its most powerful entities.
SAY WHAT?! AZOFF AND RAPINO MAY GET IN BED TOGETHER
Ticketmaster Ent. And Live Nation Are on the Verge of Combining, According to the Wall Street Journal and the N.Y. Post
We told you something was cooking on the concert promotion front, but this is bigger than anybody expected. Ticketmaster Entertainment and Live Nation are close to a merger, inside sources told the Wall Street Journal’s Ethan Smith, while also whispering in the ear of the N.Y. Post’s Peter Lauria.

If the deal does go down, it will unquestionably be one of the biggest music business stories in recent years, bringing together two of the industry’s most aggressive gunslingers in Irving Azoff and Michael Rapino, while uniting two of its most powerful entities. This is huge, boys and girls.

The newly created company would be called Live Nation Ticketmaster, according to Smith, and no cash would be involved. The newco would be able to take advantage of their ties with hundreds of major artists to potentially figure out new sources of revenue for the industry, at a time when it needs positive ideas and energy more than ever.

Azoff’s Front Line boasts 200 clients, some of them major concert draws and record sellers like The Eagles, Christina Aguilera and Miley Cyrus, while Rapino’s scores include Madonna, Jay-Z, U2, Nickelback and Shakira

The boards of both companies have yet to approve the merger, and it could still go south. One potential hitch: Because the merger would concentrate so much power under one roof, it will have to pass muster by the SEC.

The new company would have close ties with over 200 artists, thanks to Ticketmaster's acquisition last year of Front Line Management, a firm whose dozens of artist managers handle the affairs of around 200 major acts. That transaction vaulted Front Line's veteran chief executive, Irving Azoff, to the helm of Ticketmaster.

The structure of the new entity has not been nailed down, and it is not entirely clear, for instance, what titles would be held by Azoff and Rapino, writes Smith. This will get even more interesting in the next few days.

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