Buzz Media claims Superficial website price was superficially inflated

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Buzz Media claims Superficial website price was superficially inflated

Fri Sep 18, 2009 @ 11:42AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Phishing-fraud

A Hollywood-style feud has broken out in the world of celebrity websites.

Buzz Media, an L.A.-based startup, has gone on a buying spree of late, purchasing big pop culture sites like Stereogum, Idolator and Celebuzz.It also runs official celebrity websites for the likes of Britney Spears, Mischa Barton and Tila Tequila. The company's got big ambitions and just hired former executives at MTV to come aboard. 

In a new lawsuit, Buzz claims that Karl Wang, founder of celebrity gossip site The Superficial, "made false, fraudulent, and misleading statements to deceive Buzz Media and induce it to purchase the Website for an inflated and fraudulently induced price."

So Wang created too much buzz?

He allegedly told Buzz that a third party, Gorilla Nation Media, had a made an offer for The Superficial.

Buzz allegedly had a right of first refusal on the website, and to keep its rights it began to negotiate a purchase. Later, Buzz says it found out that there was no real offer from a third party. The company is now suing for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and breach of good faith and fair dealing. Here's the complaint.

We're sure this kind of negotiating tactic, if true, might not cause any agents and lawyers in this town to blink. Pretending to have an offer from another party is probably the oldest play in the Hollywood dealmaking book, but will it fly in the new media world

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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