In December, Howard Stern took to the air and told a Sirius XM (NSDQ: SIRI) exec that he’s “not taking a f—ing pay cut.” Two days later, Stern renewed his contract, but terms weren’t disclosed. But apparently there are some pretty serious lingering issues with that pay package, because today Stern and his agent sued Sirius XM in New York state court, according to an AP report. The shock jock says that he helped the satellite radio service beat all its growth targets, but he didn’t get stock bonuses that he was promised.
“When Sirius needed Stern, it promised him a share in any success that the company achieved,” the suit said. “But now that Sirius has conquered its chief competitor and acquired more than 20 million subscribers, it has reneged on its commitment to Stern, unilaterally deciding that it has paid him enough.”
Stern got one stock award, back in 2006. But Sirius XM’s general counsel, Richard Basch, told Stern that additional stock grants weren’t warranted because of how the company calculated its subscriber base.
Sirius told the AP it was “surprised and disappointed” by the lawsuit, and said it had abided by the terms of the deals it had made with Stern.
Back when Sirius made those promises, “Sirius needed Stern more than Stern needed Sirius,” wrote Stern’s lawyers in the lawsuit, according to a report on TMZ. Stern’s bonuses were supposed to be based on subscriber estimates that ranged from 3.7 million in 2006 to 12.1 million in 2010. But Stern “blew those estimates out of the water” and Sirius now has a subscriber based of more than 20 million subscribers.