Lawsuit Filed Against Univision Over 'Bribery Scheme'
August 9, 2007 at 5:48 AM (PT)
A LOS ANGELES-based Latino record label has sued UNIVISION MUSIC for more than $10 million, claiming the Spanish-language company tried to financially crush the music firm after it spurned an alleged scheme to bribe radio stations into prominently airing UNIVISION's music, reports THE L.A. TIMES.
PLATINO RECORDS' lawsuit, filed TUESDAY in LOS ANGELES County Superior Court, alleged that executives at UNIVISION MUSIC drove down PLATINO's sales after the firm's owner, ALBERTO MITCHELL, refused to participate.
PLATINO's lawsuit was the second in recent months to assert that executives at UNIVISION MUSIC, part of UNIVISION COMMUNICATIONS, tried in 2006 to bribe executives at several undisclosed Latin radio stations in LOS ANGELES to get better play for songs recorded by UNIVISION's top artists. UNIVISION declined to comment.
The suit comes at a delicate time. UNIVISION COMMUNICATIONS' new owners, including LOS ANGELES billionaire HAIM SABAN, are selling UNIVISION MUSIC, which commands about 37% of the Latin music market.
SABAN CAPITAL GROUP and its private equity partners -- THOMAS H. LEE PARTNERS, PROVIDENCE EQUITY PARTNERS, MADISON DEARBORN PARTNERS and TEXAS PACIFIC GROUP -- acquired UNIVISION in MARCH for $12.3 billion. The partners, which recently moved the company headquarters from LOS ANGELES to NEW YORK, are looking to sell noncore assets, including the music division, to help pay off debt.
An earlier lawsuit was filed in NOVEMBER in L.A. by DANIEL MIREKES, former VP/Promotions for UNIVISION's FONOVISA RECORDS. He claimed that he was wrongfully fired in 2006 after he refused to continue to offer radio station executives, including a programmer at a top station, "$10,000 a month, in cash, for eight UNIVISION records... to be played three times per day."