* Report had said Live Nation boss mulling private move
* Move depends on deal financing--top shareholder Malone
(Adds final Malone quote)
By Yinka Adegoke
SUN VALLEY, Idaho, July 7 Live Nation (LYV.N),
the world's largest live entertainment business, would benefit
from being taken private, according to the company's largest
Cable entertainment mogul John Malone said Live Nation,
which is struggling with a weak U.S. economy in the aftermath
of a drawn-out merger process, could turn around its business
more effectively in private hands.
His comments follow a New York Post report last month that
Live Nation Executive Chairman Irving Azoff was considering
taking the company private.
"There are arguments that it would be better as a private
company," Malone said. "Whether that's feasible is a function
of how the large shareholders and management feel about it, and
the financing of a deal."
Live Nation Entertainment was created in February 2010 from
the merger of the world's largest concert promoter, Live
Nation, with TicketMaster Entertainment, the world's leading
ticketing company, which in turn owned Front Line Management,
which looks after more than 200 artists.
It was predicted the controversial merger would create a
dominant business in live entertainment, enjoying growth from
the increasing transfer of value from dwindling recorded music
to live music shows.
But since U.S. regulators cleared the deal, the live
entertainment business has slowed due to a weak global
This has not deterred Malone from doubling down on Live
Nation, which he and his lieutenant, Liberty Media LINTA.O
Chief Executive Officer Greg Maffei, see as a great value
Malone, through his Liberty Media holding company, now has
about 21 percent of Live Nation's outstanding float according
to a June 28 regulatory filing.
The next two largest shareholders are the Atlanta-based
Shapiro Capital Management and New York-based Tiger Global
Management funds, according to filings in March. The funds and
Live Nation were not immediately available for comment.
"It would be probably be nice for that company to be
private for a period of time to settle down and consolidate
operations," said Malone, speaking on the sidelines of the
Allen & Co conference for media, technology and deal-financing
Malone said it was important to get Live Nation working
smoothly and generating predictable financial outcomes.
"This would probably be enhanced if they were private,"
Malone said. "I'm sure Irving -- as he's said publicly -- would
love to take it private."
(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by David Hulmes)