Over the past year, Harmonix Music Systems, the developers of the Rock Band franchise, have been in a legal battle with their former owners, Viacom. Harmonix claimed that Viacom owed them money for promised performance bonuses, while Viacom claims Harmonix owes them a refund on a large bonus advance that turned out to be too optimistic. Viacom initially paid Harmonix a $150 million advance, but later announced that due to a miscalculation, they were only owed $18 million and wanted the rest back.
Recently, a jointly-appointed accountant working for BDO USA announced that Viacom actually owes Harmonix and its shareholders a whopping $383 million in unpaid bonuses. The initial agreement between the companies promised that, for 2007 and 2008, Viacom would pay Harmonix 3.5 times the amount of profit they generated over a certain amount. Viacom is currently filing suit against BDO, appealing for them to consider additional information that they claim was left out of the initial consideration. We will update with more information as it becomes available.
That is a ridiculous amount of money to owe Harmonix, and I wonder if that might be part of the reason the sale of the company took place, in order to avoid paying out such a hefty sum.