Skip to main content

Harmonix wins $383m from former owner in court ruling

Viacom told to hand over withheld bonus payments.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

A court ruling has demanded Viacom pay shareholders in former subsidiary Harmonix $383 million in withheld bonus payments.

As reported by The Los Angeles Times, the judgement related to an agreement made in Viacom's original acquisition of the Rock Band studio in 2006.

The terms of the deal stated that Viacom would pay out a bonus of 3.5 times any gross profit in excess of $32 million the studio made in 2007, and in excess of $45 million in 2008.

Viacom paid $150 million in 2007 as agreed, but didn't pay anything in 2008 and subsequently demanded the 2007 pay-out to be returned, prompting Harmonix shareholders, including founders Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy, to launch legal action.

A private arbitrator ruled that Viacom is not entitled to the $150 million and must also pay Harmonix an additional $383 million in withheld bonuses.

This fell short of the $550 million Harmonix had originally claimed it was owed.

Viacom has appealed against the decision, filing a suit in the Delaware Court of Chancery to vacate the decision on the grounds that certain arguments and evidence was "improperly excluded."

Viacom sold Harmonix back to its management last year for just $50 following disappointing sales of Rock Band 3. It recouped a tax benefit of around $50 million on the loss.

Read this next