Live Nation chairman negotiating resignation: media

Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:58pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Live Nation Chairman Michael Cohl may be preparing to resign from the concert promoter after an internal battle, according to reports.

Cohl is negotiation his resignation, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people close to the situation.

At issue are "360 deals" under which Live Nation agrees to give superstars hefty upfront payments in exchange for financial rights in nearly all their business, from touring to licensing, the Journal said. Live Nation has done such deals with artists like Madonna and U2.

Cohl wants to sign more of these deals, the Journal said, while Chief Executive Michael Rapino wants the pace of these signings to slow.

The company's board instructed Cohl and Live Nation management to work out their differences quickly, the Journal said. That resolution appears likely to include an agreement on Cohl's departure as soon as next week.

Major terms have yet to be resolved, such as the size of any financial settlement, or whether Live Nation would invoke a clause in Cohl's contract banning him for several years from competing with the company, according to the Journal.

Cohl joined Live Nation when it acquired his Concert Productions International in 2006. He is negotiating to buy back his company, but the two sides have not reached a deal, The New York Times reported on Friday.

If he does exit, it could cause problems for Live Nation, since he has a good relationship with several big acts, including U2 and the Rolling Stones, the Times said.