US rapper Snoop Dogg is suing beer-maker Pabst Brewing, after he claimed that money is owed to him from the sale of the company and its beer line last year.
Rapper Snoop Dogg signed an endorsement deal to promote Colt 45’s fruit-flavoured beverage, Blast, from January 2011 through January 2014.
His contract called on him to consult with Colt 45’s marketing team at least once a year on how he could integrate Blast into his concerts and interviews. He also had a payment of $250,000 for the contract, and received another $20,000 for every tenth mention he made on social media.
Following the end of the contract, the brewing company was sold to a group of investors, including beer entrepreneur Eugene Kashper and TSG Consumer Partners. Despite a Business Wire release announcing that Russian company Oasis was negotiating with Cold 45’s parent company Pabst Brewing, Oasis was never part of the buying group, or even involved in talks to buy Pabst.
This prompted Dogg to file a lawsuit against the company for a breach of contract and interference with contractual relations. Suing under his given name of Calvin Broadus Jr, Dogg claimed that the endorsement deal entitled him to ten per cent of the sale price if Pabst Brewing ever sold off its Colt 45 brand before January 2016. He added that it included royalties on each case of Blast that was sold.
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He cited a “phantom equity clause” in his endorsement contract, which allegedly said: “In the event that the Blast by Colt 45 brand or the entire Colt 45 brand family is sold during the three-year term of the agreement or within two years following the end of the term, [Broadus] will receive ten per cent of the net price of such sale.”
Pabst told the rapper that the sale didn’t trigger the clause entitling him to sale proceeds.
No purchase price has been announced. However, the rapper’s lawyer, Alex Weingarten, stated in the lawsuit that the beer company was sold for $700m (£455m).
Dogg claimed the company refused to pay him anything in connection with the sale. “Despite the sale, Pabst has taken the (very convenient) position that no transaction has occurred such that subsection (a) of the phantom equity clause would be triggered,” stated the complaint.
Pabst said in a statement that it had not been contacted by the rapper or his representatives about the proceed claims. “We are investigating the matter and would be happy to talk to Snoop or his representatives to try to get to the bottom of this,” the statement said.
By Shané Schutte