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Cohl Countersues LN

02:01 PM Tuesday 2/1/11 |   |

Michael Cohl, former CEO of Live Nation, has filed a countersuit against the company, claiming Live Nation played hard and heavy when it came to a potential Rolling Stones tour later this year.

  • The Rolling Stones

    Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and the rest of The Rolling Stones as they kick off their world tour.
    August 21, 2005

    (AP Photo)

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Live Nation filed suit against Cohl and his S2BN Entertainment in U.S. District Court in Miami Oct. 18, claiming Cohl defaulted on $5.35 million in payments regarding a non-compete he signed when exiting the company in June 2008.

Live Nation agreed Cohl could have exceptions to his non-compete (specifically, he could co-promote tours for the Stones, Barbra Streisand, Genesis and Pink Floyd) if he paid Live Nation $9.85 million over a two-year period. Live Nation says Cohl did not live up to his end of the bargain.

Cohl’s countersuit does not dispute the basis of Live Nation’s claims but contends LN’s business tactics against S2BN since 2010 voids the agreement.

Cohl submits that, when he made his non-compete, he paid for relief from restrictive covenants, which were categorized into five “buckets.” The most valuable was the second bucket, which had Cohl pay $5.5 million to Live Nation for “the Cohl Relationship Artists.”

  • The Rolling Stones

    Performance in Horsens, Denmark, at Forum Horsens Stadium as part of the A Bigger Bang tour.
    September 3, 2006

    (AP Photo/ Polfoto)

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The agreement made Cohl the lead in negotiating with the Rolling Stones, according to the lawsuit, and any communication with Live Nation would be “helpful” to his efforts, the suit says. However, in Feb. 2010, Live Nation notified Cohl it would be a direct competitor for bidding on a Stones tour if it presented itself in 2010, and that Cohl would be unable to successfully negotiate the rights to promote the tour or any tours of the other “Cohl Relationship Artists,” the suit says. Two days later, Live Nation allegedly sent a letter saying Cohl could pursue promotional rights for the next Stones tour but Cohl would be required to advise Live Nation on details of any negotiations.

Cohl claims that if he provided LN details of the negotiations, the latter could use that information to undercut Cohl’s bid. That apparently led to another correspondence, where Live Nation suggested the two “simply compete” for the tour. Cohl claims he gave Live Nation $20 million to not have to bid against them for the tour (among other Stones agreements).

  • The Rolling Stones

    Mick Jagger and Keith Richards strut their stuff at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
    November 11, 2006

    (AP Photo / Las Vegas Review-Journal)

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The Rolling Stones eventually began entertaining bids for a 2011 tour, according to the lawsuit, and allegedly told Cohl the band did not want be caught up in a “spat” between him and Live Nation.

Cohl asks for a judgment that LN breached its agreement and seeks monetary damages for being deprived the benefit of their bargain in connection to the Stones tour, plus lost profits. Cohl also asks to be excused from further payments to LN.


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