Front Line Eyeing Nashville Firms?

Managers respond to roll-up talk.

Talk that Front Line, the freshly capitalized and resurrected mega-management firm of Irving Azoff and Howard Kauffman, is shopping for Nashville management companies to purchase has piqued the interest of Music City managers.

“Actually, I have had a couple of inquiries,” says Scott Siman, president of RPM, manager of Tim McGraw, Holly Williams and others. “I’m intrigued by it all. I think there could be a lot to be saved by consolidating costs and overhead, because there is a lot of duplication in the management business.”

Front Line -- which reps such acts as Christina Aguilera, the Eagles (Azoff), Lenny Kravitz and Jimmy Buffett (Kaufman) -- is said to utilizing a $200 million investment by Thomas Lee Partners to roll up select management companies.

Siman thinks anyone looking to consolidate artist management companies would be looking for managers who represent solid touring artists, “so companies like ours are in play.”

However, T.K. Kimbrell -- manager of top country touring artist Toby Keith, who grossed $44 million on the road last year -- says, “No one’s approached me, but you always should hear what someone has to say, especially someone of [Azoff’s and Kauffman’s] reputation.”

Kimbrell says he has been approached in the past by groups inquiring about purchasing his management company. “They never offered me a deal that appealed to me, and I’ve always looked back and been glad I didn’t sell,” he says.

“Somebody’s not gonna change the way I live by offering me any amount of money,” Kimbrell adds. “They can drive by my house and see what I’ve done on my own.”


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