Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Warner Music Boss Edgar Bronfman Wins One: Publishing Exec Dick Snyder Loses $100 Million Suit

Edgar Bronfman Jr. is both a music company CEO and in a fight against Google (GOOG). So he needs good news wherever he can find it. Today a New York Court is helping out: It has ruled against former publishing executive Dick Snyder, who claimed that Bronfman owed him $100 million because he helped him hatch a plan to buy Time Warner’s (TWX) record label.

Snyder, who ran publishing giant Simon & Schuster for a couple decades, had a an exciting and juicy story to tell: He basically claims that Bronfman hired him as consigliere as he figured out how to buy Warner Music (WMG) for $2.6 billion in 2003, but never paid him. The tale is nicely told in this Portfolio piece from 2007, which includes plenty of character assassination and mud-slinging, if you’re in to that sort of thing.

Today’s news is compelling only if you’re one of the two men involved in the case. But it does look good for Bronfman: In April, the New York State Supreme Court had ruled against Snyder on four of the six claims he filed in 2007; today, an appellate court shot down the final two.

Here’s the statement from Bronfman’s attorney, Orin Snyder; the court’s decision is embedded below (click on button on top right to enlarge):

This unanimous decision is a complete victory for Mr. Bronfman–so much so that the Court imposed court costs on Dick Snyder. We are gratified that the appellate court vindicated Mr. Bronfman and repudiated Dick Snyder’s bogus claims. Today’s decision confirmed what we have said all along–that Dick Snyder’s claims were nothing more than a work of fiction. This opportunistic lawsuit was a lame attempt to extract money from Mr. Bronfman, whose hard work, vision and creativity helped bring about the successful acquisition of Warner Music. From the outset, Mr. Bronfman refused to settle because he believed that, as a matter of principle, it was important to fight this frivolous lawsuit to the end.”

Bronfman v. Snyder

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik