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Viacom posts reduced Q1 profits, blames Rock Band lawsuit

Media giant Viacom has posted financial results for the first quarter of the current fiscal year, blaming a significant drop in profits year-over-year on charges related to the Rock Band video game series.
Media giant Viacom has posted financial results for the first quarter of the current fiscal year, blaming a significant drop in profits year-over-year on charges related to the Rock Band video game series. Viacom originally acquired Rock Band developer Harmonix back in 2006, but eventually sold the company back to its founders in 2010. The founders then sued Viacom, claiming that the company was attempting to scheme its way out of paying performance-based bonuses. The dispute is still under review, but since then, Viacom has filed its own lawsuit against former Harmonix shareholders, claiming that they owed a "refund" for earn-out bonuses paid to shareholders "to which they are not entitled." The latest claim from a jointly-appointed accountant is that Viacom owes the former shareholders in excess of $383 million. For the quarter ended December 31, 2011, Viacom posted profits of $212 million, down 65 percent compared to $610 million year-over-year. The company blamed the figures on the $383 million it has set aside as reserve and charged to its earnings as a result of the aforementioned lawsuit. As part of the earnings results, the company once again refuted claims against it, noting that it believes it is entitled to reduce the earn-out payment to the former Harmonix employees.

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