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Ari Emanuel And Irving Azoff Feud Via Vile Emails CC’ed To Hollywood And Media VIPs

By | Tuesday June 25, 2013 @ 1:44pm PDT

UPDATE: Read the unedited emails here.

EXCLUSIVE: Few things satisfy more than a fiery Hollywood feud. I’ve learned the ongoing one between Ari Emanuel and Irving Azoff flared up again this past weekend in a way that one eyewitness told me was “like Yiddish Theater, complete with Jews and their drama and their masks and coats and robes”. I wouldn’t know, never having attended Yiddish Theater. But I do know Hollywood, and this flaming raged out of control. The email war erupted between the two entertainment executives Friday, the same day as a Financial Times article was published about how well Live Nation Entertainment is doing in 2013 after music manager Azoff resigned and where WME co-founder Emanuel is on the board. It doesn’t help that Azoff’s son works for CAA as an agent, or that Azoff is reputedly using his position as an advisory board member of IMG to lend help to CAA’s designs on that sports company which WME also wants. The surprise here is that Emanuel usually sends one- or two-word-only email messages. But Azoff loves all communications technology, even infamously micro-blogging on Twitter to spar with Live Nation critics when he ran the company. (“If you want ticket prices to go down, stop stealing music.”) Trust me, feuds like this are extremely multi-faceted.

I’m told the emails were “a lot of back and forth” over the FT story but not substantive. Instead, they consisted of each man baiting the other and “devolved into a fucking bitchfest about how much they hate each other. Irving tried to be nice and, well, Ari was Ari. They kept going back and forth. Such silliness from Ari about what a ‘piece of shit’ Irving was, and then Irving saying, ‘I forgive you for being an asshole.’ Ari telling him, ‘You’re a lying piece of shit,’ and Irving replying, ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about.’ It was so ridiculous.”
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Live Nation Says Stage Is Set For Strong 2012 Despite New Competition

Don’t tell Live Nation executives that their concert acts are getting old. While one-time hitmaker Neil Diamond continues to hit the stage at age 70, Chairman Irving Azoff says that “every year there’s a Taylor Swift, or Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga.” He adds: “We’re managing all the winners of The X Factor. We predict the tour will be huge. It’s Idol plus The Voice plus Glee on steroids.” That kind of shameless self promotion was the order of the day this afternoon as Azoff and CEO Michael Rapino made the investment case for their concert venue, talent management, and ticketing colossus at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media Communications and Entertainment conference. Rapino says that “in an overall tough economic time, we’re thrilled that the industry came off a horrible year and stabilized…. We will finish the year flat to up as  an industry and the early pipeline for 2012 looks good.”

Azoff says that Live Nation plans to take advantage of the crowds that will flock to Europe next year around the Summer Olympics in London. “The biggest names in the business will be on the road,” he says. “We’ll get a non-economy blip.” One of his mainstays, The Eagles, continues to tour and plans a Broadway show called (what else?) Hotel California. “No one knows whether the Rolling Stones are touring or not,” Azoff says. The execs say that they’re also making deals that could pay off — including … Read More »

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Media Stocks -5.4% As Fresh Data Suggest The Economy Continues To Weaken

The bears are back. After a relatively calm week, stocks prices across the board — including in media — are tanking today following reports that point to rising unemployment and inflation, and weakness in manufacturing. An hour before the market close, the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and NASDAQ indexes for media stocks each were down at least 5.4%. Among the Big Media giants CBS is -10.7% followed by Time Warner (-6.1%), Sony (-5.7%), News Corp (-5.2%), Viacom (-5.2%), Comcast (-4.8%), and Disney (-3.2%). Elsewhere  on our watch list, Pandora Media (-12.9) is taking the biggest hit with LIN TV -9.4%. Others falling at least 8% include Gannett, Live Nation, Entercom, IMAX, Radio One, McGraw-Hill, and Discovery. Those off at least 7% include Cablevision, Amazon, TiVo, Netflix, McClatchy, Coinstar, Arbitron, and Scripps Networks. And companies down at least 6% include Barnes & Noble, Washington Post, E.W. Scripps, Sinclair Broadcasting, Outdoor Channel, and Dish Network. The only gainers are Lionsgate (+0.3%) and Cinedigm (+1.3%).

Media stocks likely will take even more punishment if the economy weakens. When times are bad shares of companies with high fixed costs, lots of debt, and that depend on ad sales, fall more dramatically than the overall market, Needham & Co analyst Laura Martin says today.  She says that Discovery may be the best media stock to own now — but adds that it would be even safer for investors to own a fund of stocks that mirrors the S&P 500.

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Live Nation Credits Growing Concert Ticket And Ad Sales For 2Q Results Above Expectations

Live Nation’s increase in ticket prices didn’t deter many people from going to see concerts in 2Q. The company reported net earnings of $13.3M, up from a $32.8M loss in the same period last year, on revenues of $1.56B, up 23.1%. Profits at 7 cents a share beat the 2 cents expected by analysts who follow the company. The Street also fell short in forecasting just $1.32B in revenues. The company says that 13.1M people attended 5,834 events sponsored by Live Nation; last year it had 12.3M people at 5,558 events. Although concert revenues were up, this year’s events were less profitable: Live Nation made up for that with big increases in earnings from its Artist Nation talent-management unit and tour sponsorships. Meanwhile, Ticketmaster sold $2.1B worth of tickets, up 15.7%. “We are seeing the global ticketing business stabilize and concert business grow year-over-year, and we remain optimistic about continue growth opportunities in the industry long term,” says CEO Michael Rapino. Live Nation shares are up 5.4% in after-hours trading after falling 6.4% during the day.

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Live Nation’s Irving Azoff Will Manage ‘The X Factor’ Winner

Curious that the press release (below) doesn’t explicitly say that Azoff is chairman of Live Nation Entertainment — the parent of Ticketmaster and the No. 1 owner of concert venues.

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 4, 2011 — Front Line Management and Syco Entertainment today announced a partnership which will see the future winning artist or group of the U.S. version of The X Factor managed by Front Line Management, the world’s leading artist management group.

Front Line, a division of Live Nation Entertainment, manages the careers of some of the world’s biggest-selling artists, including The Eagles, Miley Cyrus, Journey, New Kids on The Block, Christina Aguilera and Fleetwood Mac.

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Jim Dolan Joins Live Nation Board After Company Says He Can Still Be A Competitor

The mind-numbing network of interlocking corporate relationships at Live Nation — the No. 1 concert promoter and owner of Ticketmaster — just became much more complicated with the announcement that Jim Dolan is joining its board of directors. He’s a power in live entertainment in his role as executive chairman of Madison Square Garden — a major owner of concert venues (Radio City Music Hall, The Beacon Theater, The Chicago Theater), sports teams (New York’s Knicks and Rangers) and media outlets (MSG network and music channel Fuse). Dolan’s also CEO of Cablevision Systems, a director of AMC Networks, and a Live Nation client in his role as lead singer and guitarist for blues band Read More »

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Does Liberty Media’s Malone Have A Vision?

Those who remember Liberty Media Chairman John Malone from the days when he was the swashbuckling King of Cable like to think of him as a strategic mastermind who still wants to shape the future of media. But lately he’s looked like a guy who simply wants to collect and trade media assets as though they’re baseball cards — especially if he can do so in a way that doesn’t also require him to pay taxes. 

In presentations today and yesterday, Malone and Liberty CEO Gregory Maffei provided little to suggest that that there’s a vision behind the $1 billion offer they made last week for 70% of bookseller Barnes & Noble — or even whether they hope to manage it in a way that would complement their collection of corporate spare parts that includes QVC, Starz, and the Atlanta Braves, as well as major stakes in Sirius XM and Live Nation. Maffei told a Barclays Capital investor conference that “a lot of interesting things” can be done with B&N’s stores, including selling Nook e-readers and “Nook-related devices.” Asked whether he expects the Nook to overtake Amazon’s Kindle or simply slog ahead as the No. 2 e-reader with about 25% of the market, Maffei says “both.” Malone was a little more helpful yesterday when he told his company’s shareholders that book publishers have “a strong vested interest in not allowing too much concentration in one hand in the … Read More »

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Concert Ticket Sales Down? No Matter, Biz Deals Lead To Rocking Pay At Live Nation

It’s fascinating to watch companies in decaying industries resort to financial sleight of hand to try and survive — which is why we’re going to start paying attention to the music business. But you’d never know that music, including the concert business, is in trouble from the huge compensation packages that Live Nation just revealed it paid last year to its two top executives: chairman Irving Azoff and CEO Michael Rapino. They collectively made $38.7 million, mostly because they engineered several business deals including a merger with Ticketmaster — a combination that tightened Live Nation’s grip over the concert business but provided no discernible benefits for consumers. The financial gamesmanship certainly worked well for Azoff. He picked up a lot of Ticketmaster stock back when Barry Diller controlled the company and wanted to merge it with Azoff’s Front Line, a management firm that handles performers raging from The Eagles to a blues band that Cablevision CEO Jim Dolan fronts in his spare time, JD and the Straight Shot. Diller left Live Nation last year after losing a boardroom battle. Still, Azoff made $22.8 million in 2010, which included $13.8 million for his Ticketmaster and Front Line holdings. Live Nation also paid $731,130 to a private airplane company that Azoff owns — as well as salaries to his son, daughter and son-in-law, who hold non-executive jobs at Live Nation. Rapino ended up with nearly $15.9 million, a 138% raise over his compensation in 2009. Read More »

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Let’s All Be Done With Barry Diller, Please?

By | Wednesday September 29, 2010 @ 10:07am PDT

I don’t do music. (I have my hands full with the scoundrels in Hollywood that I can’t possibly take on the crooks in the music biz as well.) And I stopped caring about anything despotic and obnoxious Barry Diller did years ago. So does his resignation as chairman of the Live Nation Entertainment board now mean everyone else in showbiz can stop caring, too? I sure hope so. After all, he’s no longer a Hollywood honcho anymore. Plus, nobody wants to do business with him given his horrible track record of providing shareholder returns as CEO of IAC. And his long-ago ability to charm Wall Street is gone. Diller only makes money for Diller. So let’s all wash our hands of him.

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