Live Nation agrees to 12-year pact with U2

Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:18am EDT
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By Yinka Adegoke

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Live Nation Inc said on Monday it has reached an agreement for a 12-year global contract to handle the merchandising, digital and branding rights as well as the touring of Irish group U2.

Live Nation has been expanding its business model to develop more far-reaching and deeper relationships with artists beyond just handling their touring.

The deal with U2, one of the world's biggest rock bands, comes just five months after Live Nation announced a comprehensive partnership with pop star Madonna, which included her coveted recording rights.

The company would not reveal financial terms of the U2 deal though analyst David Joyce at Miller Tabak estimated that the deal would "likely be in the $100 million range."

Live Nation said U2 will continue the band's long-term recording and publishing relationship with Universal Music Group, a unit of French media giant Vivendi.

"It's not a do-or-die situation that we have to be involved in the recordings," Live Nation Chairman Michael Cohl said in an interview with Reuters. "We'd prefer to, but it's not always available."

The deal with Madonna, which included the recording rights, was estimated to be worth $120 million over 10 years including a three-album commitment after the artist submits her last album to her current music company, Warner Music Group.

Its partnership with U2 will now include merchandise and licensing rights, sponsorship and strategic alliances, digital rights, fan club/Web sites and other marketing and creative services.   Continued...

<p>U2's front man Bono and guitarist The Edge perform in Sydney, November 10, 2006. Live Nation Inc said on Monday it had signed a 12-year global contract to handle the merchandising, digital and branding rights of Irish band U2, along with its touring. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne</p>