An arbitrator has ordered former Harmonix parent company Viacom to hand over a portion of allegedly outstanding bonus payments.
The LA Times reports Harmonix shareholders had pushed for a higher figure, but independent accountant disagreed.
Viacom has not accepted the arbitrator’s finding that it is liable for $383 million, and has initiated a suit arguing that the investigation was not “properly executed”.
The two companies have been in arbitration over the terms of Harmonix’s acquisition in 2006. Viacom forked over $175 million for the Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Dance Central developer, and promised to follow up with bonuses – three and a half times gross profit above a certain threshold in both 2007 and 2008.
In 2007, Viacom dutifully paid out $150 million of the profits from Rock Band, but made no payments in 2008, and tried to get the previous year’s bonus back.
Although Harmonix bought itself back from Viacom in the interim (for just $50 – netting Viacom a cool $50 million tax break) shareholders pursued the lost payments, refusing to refund the $150 million and demanding another $550 million, for a total of $700 million. The $383 million judged appropriate by the arbitrator is $167 million short of Harmonix’s assessment.
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