Late last year, Viacom announced that they were going to be selling off Harmonix due to Viacom’s ”lack of expertise in the console games business.” Not long after, and just prior to the sale of Harmonix being completed, the former shareholders of Harmonix filed a lawsuit against Viacom, alleging that they manipulated profits so they wouldn’t be on the hook for millions of dollars of performance-based bonuses. Viacom was quick to rebut the allegations, and in September of this year filed a counter-suit. Now, we find out that a jointly-appointed resolution accountant has found in favor of Harmonix on December 19th, and that Viacom actually owes them $383 million dollars in bonus that were unpaid.
Details of the resolution are not publicly available, but we have explained in previous posts (see links above) why Viacom probably wasn’t going to be successful. You’re not going to circumvent revenue-recognition rules for performance-based bonus and then successfully explain why that was legitimate.
However, Viacom didn’t take like the resolution of the accountant they jointly-appointed, so they quickly filed a suit in a Delaware court asking that the accounting firm to “consider arguments and evidence that were improperly excluded” from its report, saying that its figures resulted from “manifest error.” Considering that arbitration with a “resolution accountant” has been going on for nearly a year at this point, Viacom’s counter-suit from September in retrospect now looks like things weren’t going their way for awhile.
[Gamasutra via Jeffrey]