U2 manager poised to step down
U2 manager Paul McGuinness is on the verge of stepping aside after 35 years at the helm of the world famous band.
The unofficial fifth member of the Irish rock group is also close to selling his management company, Principle Management, to Live Nation Entertainment.
McGuinness said was delighted that Live Nation has joined him in creating a powerful new force in artist management.
"It could be seen as slightly poor etiquette for a manager to consider retiring before his artist has split, quit or died, but U2 have never subscribed to the rock 'n' roll code of conduct," he told the New York Times.
"As I approach the musically relevant age of 64 I have resolved to take a less hands-on role as the band embark on the next cycle of their extraordinary career."
McGuinness has managed U2 since 1978, two years after four Dublin teenagers - Paul Hewson (Bono) on vocals, David Evans (The Edge) on guitar, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen on drums - formed a band.
He founded Principle Management in 1982 and became one of the most highly-rated executives in the music business. His client list also included PJ Harvey, The Rapture and Paddy Casey.
Under his control U2 sold in excess of 140 million records and won 22 Grammy awards.
The band's last tour, called 360, grossed more than 500m in ticket sales and was seen by nearly seven million people around the world.
Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster, is also in talks to buy Madonna's management company Maverick.
The move will result in Madonna's manager, Guy Oseary, taking over the management of U2 and day to day running of Principle, while McGuinness will become chairman of Principle Management.
Live Nation is due to issue a statement on the deal, which is an estimated 22m euro).
In 2008, Live Nation struck a deal with U2 to handle the band's touring and merchandising exclusively for 12 years.
According to Pollstar, a concert industry trade magazine, the top 10 highest-grossing tours include four by U2 and one by Madonna.
McGuinness has received many International awards including Pollstar Personal Manager of the Year and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Irish music industry in 2002, and the Peter Grant International Manager of the Year Award in 2006. In 1999, together with U2, he received the Freedom of the City of Dublin.