NetGuide NZ - Viacom to pay overdue $299m Harmonix bonuses

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Viacom to pay overdue $299m Harmonix bonuses

Viacom, one of the world’s largest media conglomerates, is being forced to pay $299 million to the developers of Rock Band and the Dance Central series.

Purchased by Viacom in 2006, Harmonix primarily specialises in music rhythm games. Their success in 2007 netted the company $150 million, but a lawsuit filed by the firm in 2010 claimed shareholders were owed a much larger sum for their continued success in 2008.

Viacom reacted strongly to the claims, countering with their own lawsuit against Harmonix at the time.

A spokesman for Viacom said they would defend themselves “vigorously”, with the company filing a counter-suit for $131 million on the grounds that the $150 million payout to Harmonix in 2007 was incorrectly calculated.

A third party brought in to analyse the situation came to the conclusion that Viacom owed Harmonix $383 million in addition to the sum already paid, coming to a total of $708 million.

Viacom originally agreed to pay $84 million of the $383 million to conclude the 2007 complications. In August 2012, Viacom went to court in Delaware to dispute the remaining funds. The court ruled that Viacom does indeed have to pay the further $299 million.

Viacom appealed the decision but the Delaware Supreme Court upheld the amount yesterday.

Since 2010 Harmonix has once again become an independent development studio, continuing to develop the Dance Central games. Fantasia: Music Evolved, the studio’s current project is a Kinect game for Xbox 360 and Xbox One and is expected in 2014.

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