Snyder sues Bronfman over WMG

Suit alleges failed payment for takeover advice

NEW YORK — Former Simon & Schuster CEO Richard Snyder is suing Edgar M. Bronfman Jr. for $100 million over the 2003 buyout of Warner Music Group.

Snyder’s suit, filed in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court, alleges that Bronfman failed to pay him for advising on Bronfman’s $2.6 billion takeover of the music company. Snyder said Bronfman acted “dishonorably and unlawfully” by going back on a promise to compensate him and by misappropriating his business files and computer.

Snyder says in court papers that Bronfman asked him in 2002 to work with him to create a company they would use for future acquisitions and investments. He said Bronfman promised him a “fair and equitable” share of their success.

By March 2004, Snyder says, they had “made their venture a success” and had acquired the Warner Music Group. Snyder expected Bronfman to honor their unwritten agreement.

But Bronfman, fearful of admitting to anyone that he was incapable of attaining this level of success on his own, could not bring himself to acknowledge Snyder’s pivotal role in their achievement, Snyder maintains in his suit.

After the WMG deal was completed, Snyder asked Bronfman for his “fair and equitable” share of the deal, and Bronfman replied, “I would have made this deal with or without you,” the Snyder papers say.

Snyder’s lawsuit estimates that Bronfman made about $500 million on the Warner Music deal. It accuses Bronfman of unjust enrichment and failure to compensate the plaintiff for the work he did. The lawsuit asks for $100 million in compensatory damages.

A statement from Orin Snyder, lawyer for Bronfman, called Richard Snyder’s claims “absolute fiction.”

“Simply put, Dick Snyder did not work on the Warner Music Group transaction, and there was never an agreement to compensate him for anything,” said the lawyer, who is not related to Richard Snyder.

After Snyder left publishing, Bronfman gave him free office space, the lawyer said, adding, “This is a case of no good deed going unpunished. Now, years later, Dick Snyder would punish that kindness by attempting to rewrite history and try to claim compensation that is not owed him.”

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