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U2 and Madonna managers to ally via new deal with Live Nation

By | Published on Wednesday 13 November 2013

Live Nation

The managers of U2 and Madonna are close to merging their respective management companies into a new venture that will sit within the Live Nation empire, according to various media reports.

Paul McGuinness will merge his Principle Management business with Guy Oseary’s Maverick company, with the former becoming Chairman of the new firm and the latter the more hands-on CEO. That would see Oseary become involved in the day-to-day management of U2’s affairs, something the band seemingly endorse, given reports Bono has been involved in brokering this arrangement.

The new company will be backed by and form part of live music giant Live Nation. Madonna, of course, already has a wide-ranging alliance with the company, which signed something close to a 360 degree (ie all revenue streams) deal with the star back in 2007. There was much speculation at the time that U2 would likewise throw all their business interests into one deal with Live Nation, though in the end they kept their alliance with the firm mainly based around their touring activity.

Live Nation already has substantial interests in artist management, especially in the US, via the Front Line business it acquired through its 2010 merger with Ticketmaster. It’s not clear how close to Front Line the new Principle Maverick company will sit, though it will likely also fit in under the Artist Nation banner, the Live Nation brand originally set up to pursue 360 degree deals with mega-stars, though these days an assortment of business interests outside of the touring and ticketing domain, mainly merch and management.

Although Live Nation and Oseary have yet to comment on the deal, which it’s thought will net the two managers $30 million, McGuinness has confirmed both the alliance and his intent to take more of a backseat role moving forward in overseeing U2’s affairs.

Said McGuinness: “It could be seen as slightly poor etiquette for a manager to consider retiring before his artist has split, quit or died, but U2 have never subscribed to the rock n roll code of conduct. As I approach the musically relevant age of 64 I have resolved to take a less hands-on role as the band embark on the next cycle of their extraordinary career”.

“I am delighted that Live Nation, who with Arthur Fogel have been our long term touring partners, have joined us in creating this powerful new force in artist management. I have long regarded Guy Oseary as the best manager of his generation, and there is no one else I would have considered to take over the day-to-day running of our business”.

Presumably with more time on his hands, McGuinness will be able to do more of those MIDEM sessions where he tells the wider music industry who enemy number should be in the anti-piracy stakes.

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