By Sahil Patel
Last week, former Maker Studios CEO Danny Zappin filed for a restraining order to prevent Disney’s acquisition of Maker going through. Earlier this week, Zappin was denied, and Maker announced that a majority of its shareholders had already approved the Disney deal.
That’s not going to stop Zappin or those who support him, though.
Yesterday, former Maker Studios executive Andy Faberlle filed a lawsuit against Maker Studios, seeking to rescind the now-approved acquisition. His claims? The same ones that Zappin made in his attempt to block the deal — that Maker Studios’ board of directors, including Lisa and Ben Donovan, Ynon Kreiz, Dana Settle, and Mark Suster, illegally issued shares to themselves and diluted the common stock for their own financial gain, and to vest more control for themselves in order to quickly find a buyer.
“Defendants illegally obtained Maker shares and illegally voted those shares in favor of a merger with Disney,” reads Faberlle’s complaint. “Moreover, they sought to obtain approval of the Merger from the Maker shareholders without providing them the necessary information for approval of the Merger, even after repeated requests.”
Faberlle, who provided a declaration in support of Zappin’s motion last week, served as director of partnerships at Maker Studios from 2011–2013. His suit was filed in the same court as Zappin’s, and he’s using the same law-firm, in hopes for a better result.
Maker Studios, for its part, provided a staunch criticism of Zappin, Faberlle, and crew in its opposition to Zappin’s lawsuit last week. The company said Zappin’s legal action rests “on the thesis that some anti-Zappin ‘cabal’ schemed to deprive Mr. Zappin of ‘all of his powers.’ In fact, the true facts are that Mr. Zappin, as a condition to a substantial investment by Greycroft Partners II, L.P., agreed not to serve as a director, and not to accept service if other shareholders elected him.”
“Mr. Zappin was not ‘tricked’ into giving up voting control at the time he resigned,” the company continued, “He had no such control. Defendants Ben and Lisa Donovan combined had more shares than Mr. Zappin had. Thus, even if Mr. Zappin had forced a vote on his ouster, he could not have blocked it. In short, the premise of this action — that Mr. Zappin needed to be defrauded in order to be removed — is mistaken.”
Here’s the complaint submitted by Faberlle and his attorneys, via The Hollywood Reporter.