Viacom is asking for a refund. That is, the company has found that it over-paid Harmonix stockholders in anticipation of certain Rock Band-related earn-outs that never happened, and it would like its money back, please. How much? US$131 million.
It seems, back in 2007, Viacom paid approximately $150M in earn-out bonuses to the developer’s shareholders. The figure was determined by “preliminary calculation” for performance-based payments, but – apparently – these were miscalculated, and Harmonix only deserving $18M in earn-out payments. As a result, Viacom is seeking to make up the balance.
On the flip side, the former shareholders are claiming that Viacom didn’t pay them enough, and have already filed their own lawsuit, accusing the former parent company of manipulating costs in an effort to avoid paying performance-based bonuses.
According to Gamasutra, that dispute is under review by a resolution accountant, and has been since December. I don’t think any of this mess will be tidied up in a hurry.