LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff has revealed a plan to divest a significant portion of his Live Nation stock over the course of two years as a part of a plan that commenced in June.
According to a Securities & Exchange Commission filing, Azoff announced that he intends to sell a maximum of maximum of 2,036,500 shares of Live Nation stock over the next year under certain conditions, beginning in August of 2012. This figure represents almost 2/3rds of Azoff's total holdings and much of it was acquired when Live Nation bought Azoff's company, Front Line Management.
The certain conditions referenced in the filing were not disclosed in the filing but it did reveal that Azoff entered into the plan to "diversify his portfolio and for tax planning purposes."
While Azoff's stated purpose is diversification, it is hard not to consider the divestment in light of the continuing rumors regarding a buyout of Live Nation by John Malone's Liberty Media. Liberty recently purchased 9.5 million of Live Nation's stock, giving the media conglomerate holding an attributed ownership of 26% of the promoter, with approval to up that stake to 35%. Liberty also spun off its Starz premium cable network and was awarded almost a billion in a lawsuit with Vivendi, mobilizing considerable capital for potential buyouts, such as Live Nation and SiriusXM, which has been in Malone's sights for some time. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers