Live Nation to lose $19 million in U2 stock deal: paper

Irish band U2's singer Bono takes to the stage during the MTV Europe Music Awards ceremony in Liverpool, northern England, November 6, 2008. REUTERS/Phil Noble

(Reuters) - Live Nation Inc will lose about $19 million as Irish rock band U2 moved to sell its shares in the company, the Wall Street Journal said, citing regulatory filings and people familiar with the matter.

Live Nation had guaranteed that U2 would receive $25 million for 1.6 million shares as a part of a 12-year deal signed in March, the paper said.

With Live Nation’s shares closing at $3.91 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, the market value was about $6.3 million.

In April, Madonna is eligible to sell $25 million of stock under the terms of her contract, even though the stock’s market value has plunged 83 percent since she struck her deal in October 2007, the paper said.

“Madonna and U2 are the only two deals that did contain this (stock sales) provision,” Live Nation Chief Executive Michael Rapindo was quoted by the paper as saying. “The Madonna business is great, and we look forward to monetizing our investment in U2 next year.”

Live Nation could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters.

Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore; Editing by Rupert Winchester