Fight Breaks Out Among Spot Runner Investors

spotrunnerPump-and-dump is not a phrase normally associated with startups. But that is exactly what WPP is accusing its fellow investors in Los Angeles-based interactive advertising agency Spot Runner of doing. The global advertising giant, which owns a 3 percent stake in Spot Runner, is suing Battery Ventures and Index Ventures, along with Spot Runner’s co-founders and former AOL chief Bob Pittman, alleging they used WPP’s brand to raise more capital, only to turn around and unload the shares in a secondary sale. Spot Runner, which has so far raised $110 million in an email sent to its staff, says that it doesn’t expect the suit to impact its day-to-day business. Amidst the anemic economy, we could see more and more such disagreements get pushed into the public sphere. (See lawsuit documents.)