As you would expect, Howard Stern and his agent, Don Buchwald, are opposing the motion by Sirius XM to have a New York court throw out their lawsuit seeking additional payments under the five-year contract which already paid them over $600 million. In his personal affidavit, Stern says the company first greeted him as its “savior” and is now refusing to pay him what it owes.
“Shortly after I signed with Sirius and the announcement was made, Sirius executives greeted me as a partner in the company. The company was gathered together in the lobby, and people hailed me as the company’s savior. I told the gathering that the best was still to come, that we were going to bring in listeners, and that we would turn the company around. I told them that not only would we beat XM, but that we would be so successful that we would acquire XM, Stern said in the court filing.
“The King of All Media” isn’t buying the company’s claim that the XM subscribers who don’t pay for the “Best of Sirius” package, including the two Howard Stern channels, don’t count toward the subscriber totals for his bonus payments in company stock. In fact, the meaning of the subscriber count language is part of what Stern/Buchwald and Sirius XM disagree on in their court filings of which facts each side claims are not in dispute. (So they actually are in dispute.)
“When Sirius needed me to help save it, the company promised to pay me if the company exceeded its subscriber targets by at least 2 million subscribers. Now that the company has done that and more, it is refusing to pay me what it owes. I understand that Sirius is now saying that it does not have to pay because half of its subscribers came in through the acquisition of XM, rather than through the company’s own internal growth. This makes no sense to me. We never discussed or agreed to any such distinction. Our Agreement is clear – the stock awards are based on the total number of subscribers that the company has at the end of any give year. When we were negotiating the agreement, Don raised with Sirius the possibility that Sirius and XM might combine. Sirius never said that if that happened, it would not count the new subscribers for purposes of the stock awards,” Stern told the court.
It is not known when Judge Barbara Kapnick might rule on the motion by Sirius XM seeking to have the case thrown out. Should she do so, Stern and Buchwald would certainly appeal. Otherwise, the case will be heading to an interesting trial.
RBR-TVBR observation: Don’t you wish you had money problems like this? Howard certainly isn’t going hungry while waiting to see if he can get a few hundred more millions from Sirius XM.