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Madison Square Garden Spin-off Snags Former MGM Legal Chief (1)

June 29, 2020, 10:48 PMUpdated: June 30, 2020, 1:36 PM

The Madison Square Garden Co.’s recent split has resulted in a new top lawyer for the successor company that owns live entertainment assets like its famous namesake arena and New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

Scott Packman, a former general counsel at entertainment company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. who last summer became in-house legal chief at independent television studio Sonar Entertainment Inc., will be executive vice president and general counsel for Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. as of July 1.

MSG Entertainment announced late Monday its hire of Packman, who began his legal career in the mid-1990s as an associate at Rogers & Wells—now Clifford Chance—and O’Melveny & Myers. James Dolan, CEO and executive chairman for MSG Entertainment, said in a statement that Packman “brings with him decades of outstanding legal experience” in the entertainment industry.

“I am excited to be joining MSG Entertainment and look forward to working with the company’s senior management team and the entire legal department to advance the company’s key legal and business priorities,” Packman said in a press release.

Packman declined to discuss his new role, which comes two months after New York-based MSG Co. split in a tax-free deal that created MSG Entertainment and Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. The latter is also controlled by Dolan and now operates his professional sports team holdings like the National Basketball Association’s New York Knicks and National Hockey League’s New York Rangers, as well as some interests in the e-sports sector.

Lawrence Burian, a longtime general counsel for MSG Co. and its affiliated MSG Networks Inc., will remain legal chief for successor company MSG Sports. MSG Networks disclosed in a June 19 securities filing that it had entered into a new employment agreement with Burian, who received nearly $3.84 million in total compensation last year, according to a proxy statement. Burian also owns roughly $1.79 million in MSG Sports stock, per Bloomberg data.

As for Packman, 52, he will receive a base salary of $800,000 at MSG Entertainment and a one-time special payment of $250,000 to relocate from Los Angeles to New York, according to a June 30 securities filing by his new employer. After July 1, Packman will also be eligible for an annual bonus at MSG Entertainment equal to his base salary and at least $1.2 million in stock awards.

Packman joined MGM in 2002 and was promoted to general counsel of the film studio two years later. Packman left MGM in 2016 and formed SSP Partners, a consultancy that worked with private equity firms and other clients to identify investments in the entertainment and media space. He joined Sonar as chief strategy officer, general counsel, and head of business affairs in July 2019.

Sonar media representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about Packman’s replacement. Nor did Jason Rosen, a vice president of business and legal affairs who has worked in-house at Sonar since June 2018.

(Adds response from Packman and details on his pay in fifth and seventh paragraphs and information on Sonar in last paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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