Just days before being sold off last year, a small group of shareholders and executives from Rock Band developer Harmonix filed suit against soon-to-be-former owner Viacom, alleging the MTV parent firm was guilty of “manipulating costs after the massive initial success of Rock Band to avoid a potentially giant earn-out payment” to shareholders, a provision in the 2006 acquisition of the studio.
Millions of dollars were and are being sought, and Viacom refuted the claims. Shortly after Harmonix went independent, with their end of the legal tussle yet to wrap up.
Now a year later, Viacom has fired back, filing their own case against ex-Harmonix shareholders for $131 million out of nearly $150M paid out in 2007, “in anticipation of 2007 earn-outs, claiming that the sum is a “refund” for earn-out bonuses paid to shareholders “to which they are not entitled”.
Viacom says the initial figure of $150 million was “miscalculated”, and in fact the earn-out payment was just $18 million, resulting in their seeking of a refund of the remaining balance.
So far there hasn’t been a comment from Harmonix or the former shareholders.