Paul McGuinness is to step aside as manager of U2 and will take on a less "hands on" role.

The New York Times reported that concert company Live Nation is in negotiations to buy Mr McGuinness's Principal Management firm and Madonna's management company, Maverick.

The paper reports that Mr McGuinness would become chairman of Principal, with Madonna's current manager Guy Oseary set to take over management of U2.

Live Nation is expected to pay €22m for the two firms.

Mr McGuinness has managed U2 since the start of their career.

In a statement he said: "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.

"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."

Mr McGuinness added: "I have long regarded Guy Oseary as the best manager of his generation, and there is no one else I would have considered to take over the day-to-day running of our business."