The Madison Square Garden Company has sold its stake in Live Nation Entertainment for $44 million, the company said Tuesday.
It offered no comment on the transaction other than to say that it had sold off its entire holdings in the ticket seller and promotion company, totaling approximately 3.9 million shares.
The move comes as Live Nation Chairman Irving Azoff is leaving the company he helped build, having expressed frustration with the demands of working in a public company.
"Life at a public company ain’t for me,” Azoff told TheWrap at the time. “The board pays you what you're worth, then you get reamed for your compensation. They don’t like the way you elect directors, you should be giving options. It’s horses—. You can’t be an entrepreneur and work in a public company anymore.
The groundwork for Madison Square Garden's divestment was laid at the end of last month when Executive Chairman James Dolan abruptly resigned from the Live Nation board of directors. That move was connected to his close relationship with Azoff, according to a report in Billboard.
Ben Mogil, an analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, speculated that Madison Square Garden will direct the proceeds from the sale towards its renovation of the Forum, the historic, but cosmetically challenged Glendale, Calif. arena it purchased for $23.5 million last June.
"We see the deal as positive for Madison Square Garden and neutral for Live Nation," Mogil wrote. "This could accelerate a capital return from Madison Square Garden."