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    Sanctuary for Elton

    Elton John has found Sanctuary.

    The British pop icon has agree to sell Twenty-First Artists Ltd., the management company he co-owns, to Sanctuary Group, a British based management, publishing, tour and merchandising company, which handles many international stars.

    The seemingly peachy deal will bring John and his partners around $30.2 million in cash and shares. Additionally for the next five years the flamboyant music-maker, renowned for auctioning off an over-abundance of possessions, will be managed by Sanctuary, whose roster includes such artists as U.S, rapper Nelly and British heavy metal legend Robert Plant.

    "I am very pleased to be involved with Sanctuary as I have been impressed by the approach they take, particularly toward the artist," John said in a statement considerably less outrageous than those feather boas and giant specs he made famous or many of the wild comments he has uttered lately.

    In mouth-offs of the past year, the Rocket Man called American Idol voters racist for giving low votes to black performers he considered talented, screamed "rude, vile pigs" at reporters and photographers who mobbed him in Taiwan and dissed Madonna for lip-syncing on her re-Invention tour. And that's just the stuff we know about. There's no telling what he said to his long-term publicist and manager when he recently fired them?

    On the plus side John has, of course, continued to do his bit for charity, including joining other British music veterans like Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne and Phil Collins in recording a new version of Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" to aid victims of the tsunami.

    Sanctuary is undoubtedly happy to get the high-profile John name, despite the fact that he's notoriously as difficult to handle as a candle in the wind. Not only has the 58-year-old Oscar and Emmy winner--who has been knighted by his Queen and received a prestigious Kennedy Center honor in the US--sold more than 250 million records over a 35-year career, with more than 100 singles making the best-selling charts, but Twenty-First Artists, founded five years ago, has been consistently profitable and recently launched the career of emerging British singer-songwriter James Blunt.

    As the world's largest independent record company Sanctuary also handles Beyoncé, Manic Street Preachers, Fleetwood Mac, and the resurgent former Smiths frontman Morrissey. The company expects to recoup the cost of the deal with John within three years.

    "The status of Sir Elton John as a respected and hugely successful artist is unassailable and we are obviously very happy to be involved in his career going forward," Andy Taylor, Sanctuary Executive Chairman, told the Associated Press.

    Industry analyst Paul Richards told Reuters that John is "probably one of the top half-dozen artists globally, so having him on the roster certainly could help Sanctuary attract other talent."

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