Live Nation and Jay-Z are on the verge of closing a major partnership that involves the rapper and entrepreneur's future touring and recordings. As part of the roughly $150 million partnership, to be

Live Nation and Jay-Z are on the verge of closing a major partnership that involves the rapper and entrepreneur's future touring and recordings.

As part of the roughly $150 million partnership, to be called Roc Nation, Live Nation would finance future start-up ventures by Jay-Z, which could include his own label, music publishing, and artist consulting and managing, the New York Times reported today (April 2).

Along with future touring, the 10-year deal could include certain publishing and licensing rights, the paper said. The agreement also reportedly calls for Live Nation to make advance payments to Jay-Z of $10 million for a minimum of three albums.

Details are still being worked out, but the deal is expected to finalized shortly, sources confirm to Billboard.com.

Last December, Jay-Z announced that he would step down as Def Jam Records president when his contract expired at the end of 2007. Earlier that month, in an interview with Billboard, Jay-Z said any decision about his future with Def Jam would not be "about money."

"It's really about trying to invest in the future, trying to invest in maybe coming up with a new model," he said. "Because going in hard making records with artists and throwing those records into a system that's flawed is not exciting for me."

Jay-Z is still signed to Def Jam Records as an artist, and still owes one more album to the label. The rapper's most recent album, "American Gangster," has sold approximately 1 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The first fruit of the deal is the Live Nation/Haymon Events-produced Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige tour, dubbed "Heart of the City." The trek began late last month in Miami and runs through May 8 in Uncasville, Conn.

This is the second huge deal of the week for Live Nation, which on Monday inked a 12-year agreement with U2 to manage its touring and merchandise. However, that partnership does not include rights to the band's recordings, which remain with Universal.

Late last year, the company inked a 360-deal with Madonna, whose final Warner Bros. album, "Hard Candy," arrives June 29.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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