Live Nation hires ex-Latham antitrust chief Dan Wall

The logo for Live Nation Entertainment is displayed on a screen on the floor at the NYSE in New York
The logo and trading information for Live Nation Entertainment is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 3, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Feb 6 - Live Nation Entertainment has hired one of its former longtime outside attorneys, veteran antitrust lawyer Dan Wall, as the Ticketmaster owner faces U.S. antitrust scrutiny.

Wall, who retired from law firm Latham & Watkins last week, joins Live Nation as executive vice president for corporate and regulatory affairs, the Beverly Hills, California-based company said in a Thursday announcement.

Live Nation said Wall, a former chair of Latham's antitrust practice, was a "key advisor" to the company for more than 12 years while at the law firm.

Wall said in an interview Friday that he first discussed joining Live Nation in an advisory role with company executives more than three years ago, before delaying his retirement from Latham when the pandemic took hold. He officially retired from the firm on Jan. 31.

Wall said his position, which is not in the company's legal department, is "intended to capture the high-profile things that are happening at any moment in time," including fallout from a botched sale of Taylor Swift concert tickets last year.

Latham represented Live Nation in its merger with Ticketmaster in 2010. The Justice Department allowed the deal to move forward on condition the companies abide by conditions to keep ticket prices in check.

The entertainment company has faced increased regulatory scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers in recent months, including after Ticketmaster was forced to cancel a planned ticket sale to the general public for Swift's tour after more than 3.5 billion requests from fans, bots and scalpers overwhelmed its website in November.

Fans and lawmakers have criticized Ticketmaster, accusing it of having too much control over the market for concert tickets. Ticketmaster has denied any anticompetitive practices and remains under a consent decree with the Justice Department following its 2010 merger.

Live Nation president and chief financial officer Joe Berchtold told a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last month that he apologized to fans.

At Latham, Wall was also a leader of the defense team for American Airlines Group at trial last year in Boston in the Justice Department's case to block its partnership with rival JetBlue Airways Corp. A judge has not yet ruled in the case. Other clients have included insurance broker Aon plc and technology company Broadcom Inc.

Rich Trobman, chair and managing partner of Latham, in a statement said Wall "is a brilliant antitrust lawyer and a preeminent practitioner" who played a key role in the firm's antitrust practice.

Additional reporting by Mike Scarcella

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