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Live Nation Chairman Azoff resigns; Liberty buys shares

Irving Azoff, Executive Chairman of Live Nation, participates in the "The Business Behind the Show: Outlook for the Entertainment Industry"
Irving Azoff, Executive Chairman of Live Nation, participates in the "The Business Behind the Show: Outlook for the Entertainment Industry"

By Ronald Grover

(Reuters) - Irving Azoff, a legendary music manager who helped make stars out of The Eagles and Christina Aguilera, resigned as chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and sold some of his stake in the concert promotion giant to John Malone's Liberty Media Corp.

Azoff is expected to start a new talent management agency, and is expected to take some of his former clients with him, according to a person familiar with his exit. Those acts haven't been identified.

Liberty Media said in a statement that its acquisition of some of Azoff's shares increased the company's stake to 26.4 percent.

Azoff sold 1.7 million shares Live Nation to Liberty. He owned 7.6 million shares, or 3.9 percent of the company in June, according to the company's proxy statement.

Live Nation's shares closed up 0.4 percent at $9.31 a share on Monday.

Azoff's contract ends in 2014, according to the company's proxy statement. Last week, Live Nation said it renewed Chief Executive Michael Rapino's contract for five years.

Azoff was chief executive of Ticketmaster in 2010 when the ticketing company merged with Live Nation. He was named executive chairman at the time of the merger, and chairman of the board the following year.

He retained his position as chief executive of Front Line, his management company, which was part of the merger.

"After successfully overseeing the integration of Live Nation and Ticketmaster over the past two years, my job is done," the 65-year-old music executive said in a statement.

(Reporting by Ronald Grover in Los Angeles; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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