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Live Nation posts 4Q loss on artist charges

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Live Nation Entertainment Inc. posted a $159.7 million loss in the fourth quarter as the company booked a big charge to its Artist Nation management division and losses at its concerts division continued.

The net loss in the three months to Dec. 31 came to 85 cents per share, according to a company spokeswoman.

The company does not break out quarterly net income or loss in financial statements for its final quarter of the year and last year's quarterly net income results were not immediately available.

Revenue grew 21 percent to $1.44 billion from $1.19 billion a year ago.

Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting a loss of 36 cents per share, excluding one-time items, on revenue of $1.29 billion.

Live Nation said it booked a charge of $5.5 million related to the sudden resignation of Irving Azoff as chairman in December. It also booked a $62.7 million impairment charge on Artist Nation, the division that Azoff oversaw.

The company said the impairment reflects its belief that it now expects fewer profits from Artist Nation than when it acquired the division through its purchase of Ticketmaster in January 2010.

Upon his departure, Azoff took with him the business of managing 12 artists, such as the Eagles and Christina Aguilera. Management of those artists had been expected to bring in more than $10 million in revenue this year, but because of comparably high costs, Live Nation said their departure wouldn't have a material impact on operating income.

Operating losses in its concert division shrank modestly to a loss of $77 million, compared to an operating loss of $81 million a year earlier.

Shares closed down 20 cents, or 1.9 percent, at $10.12 before the results were announced and dropped a further 7 cents to $10.05 in after-hours trading.