Having departed his job atop Live Nation in the final hours of 2012, Irving Azoff has finally got round to announcing his next big venture. He has teamed up with The Madison Square Garden Company, led by his long-term friend and ally James L Dolan, to launch Azoff MSG Entertainment, a new business that will include artist management, TV production, live event branding and digital marketing divisions.
According to Billboard, under the partnership Azoff will bring to the table the management business he took with him from Live Nation, plus various other in-development ventures. MSG Co will pump $125 million into the new company as well as providing credit facilities, taking a 50% stake in return. Under the alliance Azoff will provide consultancy to the wider MSG Co group, and MSG Co bosses will provide advice to the new firm.
While MSG Co is a publicly listed company, the new business will be a private firm in which it simply has a 50% shareholding. Azoff made no secret of his frustration with co-running the publicly listed Live Nation, and having to constantly placate tetchy Wall Street types, especially during that year the American live sector had a bit of a wobble.
Confirming the new partnership, Dolan told Billboard: “We see it, from MSG’s point of view, as a venture capital play, not run by us, but taking advantage of our position and of all our venues and combining it with the great artists managed by Azoff Music”.
He went on: “It’s all Irving, and what I like about it is that it doesn’t go through the public company process. Irving is the first and last call with the decisions at this company. He will be able to move quickly, he doesn’t have boards to answer to on this. It’s just going to be him, and I have great faith in him, as does everybody here at MSG, that he’s going to produce a lot of winners for us in this partnership”.
Azoff added: “These days, to make an impact you need clout and financing and brains, and we think we have all three of those. Basically it’s putting out a sign that says, ‘come see us if you’ve got a great idea, because we have the management ability and financing ability and we’re looking for great new businesses’”.
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