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Live Nation sues former chairman

By | Published on Monday 22 November 2010

Live Nation last week began legal action against uber-concert-promoter Michael Cohl – best known as the man behind the big bucks Rolling Stones tours – who, the company alleges, has breached terms of his exit agreement with the live music conglom.

For a short time Cohl was Chairman of Live Nation, but he departed in 2008, reportedly because the firm’s CEO Michael Rapino and his management team had cooled on the company’s strategy of signing multi-million 360 degree deals with the likes of Madonna and Nickelback, while Cohl was still advocating such an approach. 

The details of Cohl’s exit agreement with Live Nation were secret, but in court papers seen by the Wall Street Journal it seems that, among other things, the promoter agreed to pay the live music conglom $9.85 million in instalments.

Cohl would pay money to his former employer, rather than the other way round, so that he could keep some of the assets and artist relationships previously owned by his company CPL, of which Live Nation had taken control in 2006. It also bought Cohl exemptions from the non-compete clauses in his contract with the live music major, allowing him to promote tours for some premiere league artists, and to dabble in Broadway production (he is one of the backers of the fated U2-penned Spiderman musical).

But, according to Live Nation, Cohl has failed to keep up with those payments and now owes them $5.35 million. Last week’s lawsuit seeks to reclaim the cash.