September 29, 2010 / 3:27 PM / 9 years ago

Barry Diller steps down as Live Nation chairman

* Diller says he expected stint as chair to be short

* Says no rush to appoint a new chairman

NEW YORK, Sept 29 (Reuters) - IAC/InterActiveCorp IACI.O Chief Executive Barry Diller has stepped down as chairman Live Nation Entertainment (LYV.N) after a brief and controversial reign as chair of the struggling concert promoter and ticketing company.

Diller became chairman of the group following the February merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment, the leading ticketing company in which he had a stake through IAC. He said in a statement he had expected his stint to be short through the transition and integration of the two companies.

“It’s been almost a year and I informed the board today that while there was no rush, the board should start the process now to appoint a new chairman.

It was not immediately clear if Diller will remain on the board as a director. A spokeswoman for IAC declined to comment beyond Diller’s statement. A spokeswoman for Live Nation was not immediately available.

At least one major Live Nation shareholder had initially expressed concern that Diller would be lead the merged company’s board.

Sam Shapiro, chairman of Atlanta-based Shapiro Capital Management, which holds around 6 percent of Live Nation’s outstanding shares, was eventually convinced by management to reverse his early opposition to the merger.

Shapiro said he had been concerned by what he described as Diller’s poor record of providing shareholder returns as CEO of IAC.

Live Nation has been also struggling this year as fewer fans have attended major concert tours due to the weak global economy.

Its shares have bounced back by around 16 percent since the the start of the year after losing more than 30 percent since the start of the recession in 2008.

The shares were also hurt by a Live Nation investor conference in July that was poorly received by Wall Street after the company forecast a lower-than-expected profit.

The merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster raised hackles with opponents who felt the business would corner the live music market in the United States but it got regulatory approval in February.

Long-time manager of The Eagles Irving Azoff is executive chairman alongside chief executive Michael Rapino.

“The resignation of Diller removes some of the top heaviness and egos from the board,” said David Joyce, analyst at Miller Tabak. (Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Derek Caney)

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