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StubHub Shuffles Legal Group Amid Listing Talk, Litigation (1)

Aug. 2, 2022, 9:30 AMUpdated: Aug. 2, 2022, 9:00 PM

StubHub Holdings Inc., which operates ticket resale platforms StubHub and Viagogo, has a new legal chief as it considers going public while it grapples with pandemic-related litigation.

Mark Streams, top lawyer for Pugnacious Endeavors, a company whose holdings include Viagogo and StubHub, took over earlier this year as head of legal for StubHub, said StubHub spokeswoman Jessica Finn.

Streams becomes the fourth person in four years to have the top legal responsibility for StubHub in the US and Canada. Marty Marie Linne left StubHub in March to become general counsel for Blueground Co., a real estate rental startup.

Former parent eBay Inc. sold StubHub in late 2019 for $4.05 billion in cash to Viagogo, a privately held company started by StubHub co-founder Eric Baker. The spread of Covid-19 gutted the secondary ticket market that StubHub once dominated just after that deal was announced.

In January, StubHub confidentially filed a notice for a direct listing at a $13 billion valuation. Finn declined to discuss StubHub’s legal advisers for that matter. Streams didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The company hired Linne, a longtime lawyer for Intel Corp., in 2020 to succeed its former general counsel Stephanie Burns, who is now the top lawyer for Sony Group Corp.’s PlayStation business.

StubHub brought on Burns to replace another former legal chief, Tod Cohen, who left the company in 2019 to become a deputy general counsel at Twitter Inc. Cohen subsequently left Twitter and joined O’Melveny & Myers as a partner last year.

Refund Lawsuits

StubHub faces federal lawsuits in California over a no-refunds policy the company announced in March 2020, as the coronavirus forced the cancellation of live events around the world.

The company, represented by lawyers at McDermott Will & Emery, succeeded last year in forcing plaintiffs into arbitration who used its website to purchase tickets to events the company refused to refund.

StubHub did agree to offer cash refunds to some customers in the US and Canada that bought tickets prior to March 25, 2020, but those that purchased tickets thereafter have been given credit for canceled events.

The company has so far been unable to compel arbitration for refund denial claims brought by those who used its mobile application. StubHub in June appealed a decision in that matter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

New Structure

The merger between StubHub and Viagogo led to their respective legal departments being consolidated into a single team with Streams, a former Loeb & Loeb partner in Los Angeles, as its leader.

Viagogo has turned to McGuireWoods to handle litigation over its refund policies in US courts. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Kirkland & Ellis advised the London-based company on its merger with StubHub.

Viagogo was required by a UK antitrust regulator to divest StubHub’s operations outside North America to complete its acquisition of the company.

StubHub International, which saw its former legal director Antonio Torralba Villaverde depart in June to become vice president of legal at European gaming company Lottoland Ltd., is now a separate entity. That company didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry about its new legal leader.

Lowenstein Sandler advised Boston-based investment firm Digital Fuel Capital LLC last year on its purchase of StubHub International for an undisclosed sum.

Finn, the spokeswoman for San Francisco-based StubHub, said the company controls legacy StubHub’s North American operations in the US and Canada, as well as Viagogo’s international business.

(Adds comment from StubHub spokeswoman in second 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; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com