November 12, 2013 10:26 pm

U2 and Madonna managers come under the Live Nation tent

Two management companies representing U2 and Madonna are close to being folded into Live Nation Entertainment in a deal that gives the concert and venue promoter new influence in artist representation.

Under the deal, Paul McGuinness’s Principle Management and Guy Oseary’s Maverick will become part of Artist Nation, Live Nation’s artist management company.

Mr McGuinness, the manager of U2 since 1978, will become chairman of Principle following the deal. Mr Oseary, who manages Madonna, will become chief executive.

Mr McGuinness stands to make approximately $30m from the deal, according to people familiar with the situation. Bono, U2’s lead singer, played an active role in the negotiations, they said.

The deal is indicative of an escalating war for top touring talent in the music industry, where rising ticket prices and expanding audiences have kept the live music business growing even as CD sales collapsed.

“It could be seen as slightly poor etiquette for a manager to consider retiring before his artist has split, quit or died,” said Mr McGuinness. “But U2 has never subscribed to the rock and roll code of conduct.”

He added that he had “resolved to take a less hands on role” as he approached “the musically relevant age of 64”.

Artist Nation currently represents more than 200 clients, including acts such as Rihanna, Shakira and Kings of Leon.

Live Nation declined to comment.

The deal brings two of music’s biggest touring acts into the Live Nation fold. U2’s 360 tour is still the most lucrative ever staged, grossing more than $700m.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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