New music and a possible 2009 tour are on the horizon for iconic rock group U2. The Irish band, fronted by musician and activist Bono, announced a March 3 release in the United States for its twelfth studio album “No Line on the Horizon.” The album will be issued worldwide a day earlier, March 2.

The record was originally planned for a November 2008 release, but that date was pushed back so the band could cut a few more tracks and complete additional production according to published reports. The release will mark the band’s first studio album since 2004’s “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.”

The release would put Bono and crew on track for a 2009 tour and their first under a recent touring and promotional deal with Live Nation Artists. Monetary details of the 12-year global contract were not initially announced, but reports surfaced in October that Live Nation registered about 1.56 million shares of company stock for U2.

At the time, the stock was estimated to be worth approximately $19 million. However, as the economy and Wall Street continue to suffer, Live Nation recently bought back the stock for $25 million — the amount contractually assured to U2 — signifying a $19 million loss by Live Nation based on the stock’s current market value.

An early 2009 outing has been widely speculated since this past spring when U2’s band manager Paul McGuinness told Billboard that he hoped U2 would launch a tour. An itinerary has not been confirmed by Live Nation, though a road venture would be in keeping with U2’s habit of touring after the release of each new album.

U2 were last on the road for the 2005-2006 Vertigo Tour. The outing featured 90 sold-out concerts and grossed $260 million in 2005, according to figures from Billboard Boxscore.

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