June 13, 2009 By Alfred Branch Jr.
Live Nation board member Ariel Emanuel, the Hollywood super agent and brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, may be considering leaving the Board of Directors if the proposed merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation comes to fruition.
At this point, such sentiments are only speculation, as evidenced in a recent New York Times profile of Emanuel, whose agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WMEE) is one of the most powerful in show business.
Emanuel’s Endeavor, which was solely a Hollywood agency, merged with William Morris, and while Endeavor had no music clients, William Morris is full of them with such acts as Barry Manilow, 50 Cent, Backstreet Boys, Nine Inch Nails and Pearl Jam.
If the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger goes through, those music clients could be affected, which could complicate Emanuel’s position on the board because Live Nation’s interests might run counter to a particular artist under WMEE representation.
Board members of the merged Live Nation and Ticketmaster have not been named, and Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino told the New York Times that he does not see a potential problem with Emanuel on the new board. “We hope he would find time to continue to be a member,” Rapino said.
Neither Emanuel nor a spokesperson for Live Nation returned messages seeking comment.
Because of his entertainment clout, and the perceived access he has to Washington, D.C.’s elite through his brother Rahm, Emanuel is thought to be a potential ace-in-hole for Live Nation as it pursues the Ticketmaster Entertainment merger.
Possibly standing in the way is a newly aggressive U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division under director Christine Varney, which is vowing tougher scrutiny of major business deals.