Mike Young Productions files $5MN lawsuit against Moonscoop US

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly | 27-11-2013

US animation studio Mike Young Productions (MYP) is taking legal action against Moonscoop US Holdings, alleging that it blocked the company's attempt to take over the US arm of the troubled French animation production company Moonscoop.

Moonscoop US Holdings is a subsidiary of the Paris-based Moonscoop SA, co-founded by brothers Christophe and Benoît Di Sabatino, which filed for bankruptcy a few months ago.

Moonscoop US Holdings owns 51% of the Los Angeles-based Moonscoop LLC, while Mike Young Productions holds the remaining 49%.

Mike Young Productions has asked the Superior Court to prevent Moonscoop US Holdings from interfering with its rights under the operating agreement. It is seeking $5 million in damages for "breach of contract, breach of faith, breach of fiduciary duty, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, and violation of business and professions codes".

"We are saddened by the financial events at Moonscoop France which have led them to file a petition for court protection from their creditors," Mike Young, co-founder and partner, said in a statement.

"Our position was, and is, that we want to buy back the shares of our US company. We have made several attempts to buy back our company, however this process is being controlled by a Receiver (Trustee) out of France which has made the process very difficult. The lawsuit is a by-product of our frustration where we believe that our rights under the operating agreement are being ignored and we will take all steps to protect our US-based company."

According to the lawsuit filed in the Superior Court, Mike Young Productions had tried to buy out Moonscoop US Holding's 51% of Moonscoop LLC prior to the French Moonscoop entering into administration. "The offer was refused. The French Moonscoop instead offered for sale the holding company's assets to satisfy its creditors, though blocking Young's attempts to buy the holding company's assets," MYP added.

The US company argues that the parties have an operating agreement that gives it the right, through Moonscoop LLC, to buy the holding company's shares. But an alleged "right of first offer" bars the transfer of the holding company's assets unless another buyer makes a better offer.