Also from the file marked ‘petty squabbles’ – erm, I mean, ‘litigation’ -more details on the dispute between Warner Music and its imprint Maverick after the former’s legal case against the latter was revealed yesterday.
As previously reported, Maverick – a joint venture label co-owned by Warners, Madonna, Guy Oseary and Ronnie Dashev – is attempting to break its link with the major label following the takeover by Edgar Bronfmann Jnr. Insiders expected Maverick bosses to simply utilise a clause in their contract with Warners that said they could end their agreement and buy out
the major’s share if there was a change of ownership. However, despite initial rumours of productive talks between the two parties, Maverick then filed legal proceedings which tried to void their relationship with Warners and seek compensation from them on the grounds that the major had been in breach of contract on numerous occasions in recent years.
Warner Music filed their own sealed lawsuit against Maverick less than 24 hours before the imprint. Details of that lawsuit were revealed yesterday. According to the Hollywood Reporter it states that Warners fulfilled all its obligations to Maverick and, what’s more, that the imprint owes the major $66 million relating to losses made by Maverick but covered by Warners, plus an additional $20 million to repay a loan and $6.5 million in unpaid fees. Therefore, the major argues, Maverick will need to pay $92.5 million in addition to 40% of the agreed value of the imprint (ie Warners’ share) in order to buy itself out of their partnership. The major is also threatening to take complete control of Maverick in order to recoup that $92.5 million.
Both sides are now awaiting the opportunity to fight their respective arguments in court. While the legal people go through the due process it’s unclear how the wranglings will impact on Maverick, and high profile releases such as Alanis Morrisette’s new album, out next month. Meanwhile Warners continue to claim the ongoing legal dispute does not affect their relationship with Madonna as an artist.