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Volume 26 No. 109
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Former Exec Sues MLBAM, BAMTech For Breach Of Contract

Former MLBAM exec DINN MANN filed suit in N.Y. state Supreme Court against the company and Disney-owned BAMTech for breach of contract, claiming an ’06 granting of equity in MLBAM’s non-baseball business was never fulfilled. Mann, who worked at MLBAM from ’00 until being fired late last year, alleges the MLBAM board granted him a 2% equity stake in that non-baseball business as a retention bonus to keep from leaving for IMG. The same offer allegedly was made to longtime MLBAM exec NOAH GARDEN, now MLB Exec VP/Business. MLBAM’s non-baseball business ultimately became BAMTech, and MLBAM sold a majority stake of that company to Disney into two separate transactions in ’16 and ’17 collectively worth $2.58B. With a $3.76B valuation for BAMTech in the second Disney deal, 2% of that would be worth $75.2M. Mann says in the complaint that equity is now closer to $80M in value, and that he was instead offered only $2M to forfeit any future claims against the company. Mann “spent over 17 years of his life transforming MLBAM from a fledgling startup to a multi-billion dollar media juggernaut,” the complaint reads in part. MLB said the lawsuit is without merit. “There is not a single document that shows the grant of an equity stake in any MLB entity,” the league said in a statement. Mann’s lawsuit also details an extensive recruitment in ’06 by the now-late IMG Chair & CEO TED FORSTMANN to recruit Mann, Garden and former MLB President of Business & Media BOB BOWMAN. Forstmann ultimately demurred in his pursuit of Bowman, but is said to have made job offers with IMG equity to Mann and Garden. Those offers were then allegedly used by MLBAM’s BOD as the basis of counteroffers to keep Mann and Garden within baseball. To that end, the suit says Bowman sent Garden an email regarding the grants of equity for MLBAM’s non-baseball business saying, “[y]ou are about to become f u rich.”