Eventim’s ‘Revisionist History’

CTS Eventim’s multimillion-dollar damages claim against Live Nation isn’t bothering Paul Latham, the company’s UK-based chief ops officer, who says the German ticketing giant’s case is based on “revisionist history.”

He says rather than blowing out its deal with Eventim to facilitate its merger with Ticketmaster, as the German company is claiming, Live Nation was actually driven into the arms of the world’s biggest ticket-seller by Eventim’s failure to deliver on that deal.

Latham says the case hinges on what he describes as “the chronological truth,” which he says will clearly show that the issues with Eventim’s ticketing platform started “long before there was any talk of us merging with Ticketmaster.”

Live Nation entered a 10-year global ticketing deal with Eventim in December 2007, at a time when the announcement of such a cooperation might support both companies’ share prices. Latham says “the U.S. had problems right from the outset.”

Latham’s stance is consistent with the one he took when Eventim appealed the UK Competition Commission’s approval of the LN-TM merger, when he described the German company’s actions as “a fleeting annoyance.”

LN chief Michael Rapino originally described the deal as a “win-win situation” and Eventim boss Klaus-Peter Schulenberg said it was “an alliance between two market leaders.” But Latham says the problems his company had experienced with Eventim in the U.S. were replicated as the deal rolled out through mainland Europe and the UK.

Eventim, which expected that teaming with LN would boost its then current 60 million annual sales to 100 million “within only a few years,” says the U.S. company’s notice of termination of the 10-year contract is “a tactical litigation maneuver devoid of any material or legal foundation.”

The Bremen-based company says LN’s criticisms of its ticketing platform are no more than an effort to justify it trying to wriggle out of the contract.

“If you are not able or willing to see the real motivation that is driving Live Nation, and if you are really willing to believe what Rapino says, I can’t help you,” Eventim legal and communications chief Rainer Appel told Pollstar after the Live Nation chief said during an earnings call that he was going back to Ticketmaster because of its superior sales platform.

Latham dismisses Appel’s views by pointing out that when Eventim appealed the LN-TM merger, its submissions to the CC included an admission that it had underinvested in the UK because it was fearful of its long-term position in the market.

He says rather than investing more and trying to solve the problems the Eventim platform was causing in the UK, the German company preferred to take the legal route and try to get as much as it could in damages when the LN deal collapsed.

Live Nation claims CTS breached the contract by failing to provide a ticketing platform that meets the minimum contractual standards.

Eventim says that’s just Live Nation’s “predictable dodge” to strengthen its case before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris, which still hasn’t set a date for hearing the matter.

Although taking a dispute to the ICC – as Eventim has done with LN – is often seen as a shortcut to settling it, this time it may not be the case.

Under ICC procedure, the dispute is first heard by a panel of experts that puts forward a recommended settlement for the court’s consideration.

However, both parties can have their say on who the experts on the panel should be, which may well lead to what one LN exec described as “some legal posturing” before that issue’s resolved.