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Jay-Z close to $150 million Live Nation deal

Jay-Z is on the verge of a deal with concert promoter Live Nation worth about $150 million that rivals the biggest music contracts ever, the New York Times reported on its Web site on Wednesday.
/ Source: news services

Concert promoter Live Nation Inc. said Thursday it was in talks with rap mogul Jay-Z over a potential business deal.

The company, however, stopped short of confirming published reports that the deal would give Live Nation a stake in virtually every aspect of Jay-Z’s career and land him a potential windfall in excess of $100 million.

Jay-Z was said to be planning to leave his longtime record label, Def Jam, for a package with Live Nation that includes financing his own entertainment venture as well as recordings and tours over the next decade.

A person familiar with the negotiations between Live Nation and Jay-Z told The Associated Press the proposed deal was worth about $150 million and would cover three albums.

The person requested anonymity because of the confidential nature of the ongoing talks.

The deal, which sources told The New York Times should be finalized this week, comes after Live Nation earlier this week announced a 12-year agreement to handle the merchandising, digital and branding rights and touring of Irish group U2.

An e-mail seeking comment from representative of Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, at William Morris Agency was not immediately returned.

Under the proposed deal, Jay-Z would be paid about $25 million upfront, another $25 million toward concert tours and advances of $10 million for each of at least three albums, the person said.

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Live Nation would pay Jay-Z about $20 million for publishing, licensing and other rights, and put up $50 million toward a joint venture dubbed Roc Nation through which Jay-Z would sign artists and engage in other entertainment projects, the person said.

The venture would also split profits with Jay-Z.

Live Nation is currently producing a tour with Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige.

Jay-Z still owes his current label, Def Jam, one studio album.

He was president of Def Jam for three years but stepped down in December because he and the label’s corporate parent, Universal Music Group, could not agree on a new contract.

Like many other performers, Jay-Z has seen his record sales fall but he has also pursued other business ventures such as a clothing line, Rocawear, which he sold last year for $204 million, and a chain of 40/40 nightclubs.

This has kept him at the top of Forbes magazine’s annual list of “Hip-Hop Cash Kings” with estimated earnings of $34 million in 2006.

As well as being one of the world’s best known rappers who regularly tops the lists of richest hip hop moguls, the 38-year-old star is also known for his romance with R&B singer Beyonce Knowles.

People magazine reported this week that the couple had taken out a wedding license in Scarsdale Village, New York, that is valid for 60 days. But representatives for the couple have declined to comment on latest rumors of an impending marriage.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.