Viacom ordered to pay $299 million to Harmonix

Media company disputes performance-based bonuses stipulated in original purchase of Guitar Hero developer, may challenge ruling further.

Though media conglomerate Viacom sold off Rock Band developer Harmonix in 2010, it's still paying a contested sticker price. The two companies have disputed payments owed to Harmonix's stockholders for several years, and a Delaware court last week reiterated an arbitrator's decision that Viacom must pay $299 million.

Nothing is more metal than contract disputes.

The suit stemmed from performance-based "earn-outs," which were set to be paid to Harmonix's former owners as part of its 2006 purchase, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Viacom initially purchased the developer behind Guitar Hero for $175 million in 2006, and paid out $150 million in earn-outs in 2007. Harmonix found significant success with its peripheral-based music games, but as the market began to show signs of overcrowding, Viacom reversed course. The company did not pay out in 2008 and demanded a refund for previous payments.

An independent arbitrator decided in December 2011 that Viacom owed Harmonix's shareholders a total of $383 million in unpaid earn-outs, and Viacom proceeded to challenge the decision in its home state of Delaware's Court of Chancery. While Viacom agreed in a previous settlement to pay out $84 million (the amount set for unpaid 2007 earn-outs), the $299 million calculated for 2008 earn-outs remained.

With the court's decision to dismiss Viacom's claims, the media conglomerate must either pay out the remaining money decided on through arbitration or appeal to a higher court. "We are disappointed in the court's decision, and are evaluating our options for the next steps of this process," Viacom said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

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Discussion

0 comments
pleasurengineer
pleasurengineer

Capitalism has got to go. So much wasted time and effort by humanity counting and maximizing dollars. This is the feel good story of the day. Pay up rich man. Greed will always bite you in the ass.

deathblow3
deathblow3

funny last i check the over crowding that the article mention is because of there currently on company activision so in reality it is there on fault and it is what they get.

Kiaininja
Kiaininja

What a hypocrite Viacom is. Those trolls suing YouTube like if they were the patron saint  for collecting artist compensation. And now when it's them required to compensate those devils want to be excused.

strayfies
strayfies

They're in this business and they can't bring themselves to pay for it when a particular venture goes south?  That's what business is - there's no such thing as a sure thing.

 

They need to pay for it, and frankly that's an expensive way to learn that it's the market, not the company, that dictates demand.  Any first year MBA could've told them that. 

Simsyas
Simsyas

Just pay the money. Greedy fucks. :|

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

Looks like you have to "pay the cost" Viacom.

blackace
blackace

They should have just paid it from the start. Paying all those legal fee will cost even more. Viacom tried to pull the plug because the Guitar Hero/Rock Band genre crashed and burned. The games are still getting lots of new music for them, but no new games are being released. That's all people really wanted anyways were the new songs to play.

thom_maytees
thom_maytees

I wonder how long this legal case will continue before it is finally settled.

Nintyfan95
Nintyfan95

Viacom sucks they let Nickelodeon turn to utter s*** 

KumaTenshi29
KumaTenshi29

This is what happens when you decide to sell off something that made you ass tons of money, just because it wasn't making as much as you'd like after releasing the same damn thing 900 times.

JRazx803
JRazx803

so i guess this means rock band 4 is now in development?

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

Good.  Viacom is evil personified.

Lawdog1521
Lawdog1521

 @KumaTenshi29 Let's be clear, it wasn't HMX and the Rock Band franchise that flooded the market. That was Activision and it's Guitar Hero games. HMX still has an active and loyal fan base and continues to release new music for it's games every week, 4 years after the release of it's first RB title.

 

Viacom itched them because they weren't making COD style money, but HMX has always been profitable.

DragonessAthena
DragonessAthena

 @JRazx803 Of course not. It means Dance Central 4, 5, and 6 (3 is being released this fall) and more Kelly Clarkson and American Idol winners in Rock Band Blitz.

KumaTenshi29
KumaTenshi29

 @Lawdog1521 ......HMX STARTED GUITAR HERO. They started BOTH of them that eventually flooded the market, even if they didn't keep making Guitar Hero. They released the SAME DAMN GAME over and over and over again, first through RedOctane, and then through MTV/EA. Hence my comment about, this is what happens when you sell off something that made you ass tons of money (which they did) just because it wasn't making AS much as they'd like (which it wasn't, they wanted COD level profits)