Live Nation has settled its lawsuit with former chairman Michael Cohl, saying that the suit ended "amicably." The two had been embroiled in competing lawsuits since 2010, after Live Nation initiated the battle by suing Cohl for $5.35 million related to an agreement signed when he left the company in 2008.
"We've had a long and fruitful history collaborating with Michael Cohl," said Arthur Fogel, chairman of global music and CEO of global touring for Live Nation Entertainment, in a statement. "We're pleased that we've been able to resolve our differences, and can now get back to working together."
Live Nation's agreement with Cohl upon his resignation allowed him to continue working with artists -- such as the Rolling Stones -- with whom he had been working for years in exchange for payments made to the company. Live Nation's initial lawsuit claimed that Cohl had defaulted on those payments, thus violating the agreement.
Cohl, however, did not see things quite the same way, alleging in a countersuit that Live Nation was attempting to force him to divulge information and undercut his negotiations with the Rolling Stones regarding a potential 50th anniversary tour for the band, and that if he wanted to bid on the tour he would only be allowed if he did it as a joint venture alongside Live Nation. Cohl had been promoting the Stones' tours since 1989's Steel Wheels outing, continuing on a tour-by-tour basis until the band's last venture, A Bigger Bang, which ran from 2005-2007 and grossed $558 million according to Billboard Boxscore.
Fogel, for his part, also worked with Cohl on those Rolling Stones tours, both before and after moving to Live Nation, with Cohl acting as Fogel's mentor in the business. A Bigger Bang is the second highest grossing tour of all time, behind U2's Vertigo tour, which grossed $736 million and was produced by Fogel. Additionally, Fogel has been the man behind four of the top five grossing tours of all time.
The Rolling Stones, for their part, released statements saying that they had no interest in getting involved in the argument, and that they would be putting plans for another tour on hold for the time being. But with the settling of this dispute between Cohl and Live Nation, the band may be willing to reconsider its options in time for a 2013 outing.
Sources told Billboard.biz in February of 2011, when the lawsuits were fairly fresh, that Paul Dainty and AEG Live would also be in a position to handle a potential tour in addition to Cohl and Live Nation, though it would ultimately be up to the band as to who they would choose."
Cohl released a statement today, saying "Live Nation has been a valued partner through the years, and I'm glad that we've been able to put this behind us and move forward." Coupled with Fogel's statement, it appears the two sides are willing to work together in the future, though whether or not it would be on a Rolling Stones tour -- or whether the tour will go ahead at all -- remains to be seen. Earlier this month, Cohl offered his own knowledge on the talks to Billboard.biz, saying there was "nothing I know of. On the record, off the record, it's all the same. I got nothin' today."