"He said, 'I want a third party to do it so there's no question that I'm taking advantage of the shareholders.'"
In 2002, the company was taken private for $140 million by a consortium led by Mosaic Media Group Inc.
Instead of cashing out, Clark sold a portion of his 70 percent stake, while reinvesting the rest with the new ownership group and staying on as CEO. He voluntarily accepted $12.50 per share when other shareholders got $14.50. Usually, company founders seek the highest premium in a buy-out.
"He wanted to reward the people that were loyal to him and who entrusted him with the stewardship of their capital," said LeRoy Kim, another Allen & Co. managing director who guided the transaction. "He was a different type of entrepreneur. He was an incredible man."
Clark suffered a stroke in 2004 that affected his ability to speak and walk and led to a reduced role at the company.
In 2007, the company was sold again, this time to Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder and his private equity firm RedZone Capital, for $175 million. Clark sold the remainder of his stake. He remained connected to the company only through his annual appearances on the New Year's Eve show.
Over the years, Clark invested in other assets outside the production company, including multiple properties in Malibu, according to Senior, Dick Clark Productions lawyer Marty Katz and others.
He paid nearly $15 million for a 12-acre oceanfront estate in Malibu known as Gull's Way in 2002, according to the Los Angeles Times. He had offices and his home in Malibu.
In his later years, Clark was trying to sell shows "just like any other independent producer," said his publicist, Paul Shefrin.
Senior said Clark would still be coming up with new show ideas today if he could.
"I never ever saw a side of him that would make me think he was a narcissist or egoist or that he needed to be in front of a camera in order to feel accomplished," Senior said. "It was all one thing for him. I don't think he really cared as long as he was involved."
Despite recent legal tussles involving Dick Clark Productions - including a running dispute over who has the rights to the Golden Globe Awards - Clark's personal integrity has been "untarnished" over the years, Katz said.
Seacrest said in a statement that Clark "has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life."
"I idolized him from the start, and I was graced early on in my career with his generous advice and counsel," Seacrest said. "When I joined his show in 2006, it was a dream come true to work with him every New Year's Eve for the last six years. He was smart, charming, funny and always a true gentleman. I learned a great deal from him, and I'll always be indebted to him for his faith and support of me. He was a remarkable host and businessman and left a rich legacy to television audiences around the world. We will all miss him."