Music mogul ANTONIO 'LA' REID has been sacked as boss of ARISTA RECORDS - despite masterminding the success of acts including Outkast, Pink and AVRIL LAVIGNE.

Reid was told the sad news by BMG RECORDS chairman ROLF SCHMIDT-HOLTZ yesterday (14JAN04) - with BMG's upcoming merger with SONY MUSIC and Arista's $100 million (GBP55.5 million) losses last year (03) thought to be the reason behind the cost-cutting exercise.

An insider says, "Operating losses were significant and it couldn't go on."

However, a source close to Reid has pointed out the ongoing runaway success of Outkast's 2003 album SPEAKERBOXXX/THE LOVE BELOW, and hinted the producer may start his own label backed by UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP.

The source says, "We'll be getting a lot of thank-yous at the GRAMMYS. OutKast will take Best Album. L.A. will be there."

14/01/2004 21:40