Sirius setback for Stern Suit
New York City Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kapnick rendered a decision yesterday on a motion for summary judgment brought by SiriusXM against Howard Stern’s production company and agent. Stern listeners will know that he took SiriusXM to court alleging that they are in breach of his first 2006 – 2011 contract with Sirius. He alleged that, under the contract, the post-merger influx of XM subscribers into the merged company should count towards his performance bonus, which dealt with how many subscribers Stern had attracted to the service. Listeners will be aware of his recent comments mocking the fact that SiriusXM claims to be one company, or two, depending on how it might convenient for it.
The judge, however, sided with SiriusXM, pointing out that the contract had a specific clause providing for a $25 million bonus in the event of a merger with XM, which was honored. The judge interprets the contract to not count incoming XM subscribers – only 1 million of whom opted to actually listen to Stern via the “Best of Sirius” add-on package – as part of the bonus structure.
I fully expect that Stern and Buchwald will appeal this ruling, but it makes for interesting reading and a unique glimpse into Stern’s business dealings.