Bungie Ordered To Return Stock To Former Composer Marty O’Donnell
A preliminary injunction by the arbitrator states that Bungie "erred when it stripped music and audio chief Marty O’Donnell of his founders’ shares in the game studio, which has become extremely valuable because of the success of its Halo, which has generated billions of dollars and sold more than 50 million copies, and the excitement around its upcoming Destiny online shooter game."
O'Donnell had filed the arbitration claim shortly after being fired back in April against both the studio and its head Harold Ryan, and the arbitrator, retired Judge Sharon Armstrong at JAMS, Inc. in Seattle, ruled in his favor. Bungie is entitled to an appeal, and as the VentureBeat report states a final order has yet to be issued.
The arbitrator found that "O’Donnell demonstrated substantial likelihood of proving that he was one of seven founders of Bungie (which originally had the name Arete Seven LLC) and that the company gave him 1.27 million shares of class B shares in October 2007. Those shares were converted into 336,375 shares of Bungie’s Series B-1 Preferred Stock in 2010, when Activision started making a lot of noise about Destiny. He was also issued 48,000 shares of Bungie’s common stock. And in December 2010, O’Donnell signed a contract extending his employment through 2020."
This is the second victory in O'Donnell's legal battle with Bungie, as he was awarded $95,000 in unpaid wages in late July. We fully expect this war of attrition to continue through the appeal process. The entire ruling can be read at this link, if legal documents are your thing.
We are rather saddened by Bungie's exile of Marty O'Donnell, because his music played a major part in the entire Halo experience. The Halo theme has reached almost universal aplomb, and that same style was plainly evident in what little we've seen of Destiny so far. Should the Destiny soundtrack become as iconic as Halo, we already know that any Destiny sequel won't be scored by the same musical mind, and that is awfully disappointing.
It seems that this legal war of attrition is far from over, and we'll continue to cover it as it proceeds. As for Bungie's next game, Destiny will launch Sept. 9 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.