Manager Scooter Braun is sparring with former business associate Peter Comisar over terms of an agreement from 2017 which detailed the formation of SCOPE Capital Management, a private equity fund managed by Comisar and initially bankrolled by Braun.
According to a petition for arbitration filed in Los Angeles on June 1 by Braun, the successful investor, content producer and music manager for such artists as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato, who recently sold his company to South Korea entertainment giant HYBE (formerly Big Hit Entertainment, home to global sensation BTS) for $1.05 billion, claims Comisar failed to launch SCOPE, a planned $500 million to $750 million private investment firm (its name derived from the first three letters of Braun’s name and the first two of Comisar’s). Comisar purportedly took nearly two years in salary (upwards of $5 million), raised no capital, then ghosted only to return once news of the HYBE deal broke and demand $50 million in damages.
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Comisar, a former partner with Goldman Sachs who was an investment banking executive at Guggenheim Securities, alleges in a complaint for damages filed the same day that he was promised access to Braun’s network of “close and unique relationships with influential players in entertainment, including David Geffen, Jimmy Iovine and Haim Saban” in order to raise capital for the fund.
Comisar claims Braun “abandoned” the fund a year in. Braun counters that his commitment beyond the first year was contingent on Comisar having “secured at least $250 million in investment commitments from investors” and that the contract specifically stipulated Braun not be tasked with helping secure those commitments.
Further pointing to the operation and employment agreements signed by both parties and included as exhibits in Braun’s filing, it is stated: “Together, these provisions protected Braun from precisely the type of money grab by Comisar that Braun now confronts.” In citing the agreement, Braun’s representatives are requesting arbitration while Comisar is requesting a jury trial. The Braun filing constitutes a suit for fraud.
Comisar’s view of how the business relationship devolved was covered in incendiary detail in a June 2 New York Post article that sifted through the 30-plus pages of Comisar’s filing (with another 170 pages in exhibits, budgets, deck materials and the like). In it, Braun is described as “a sheep in wolf’s clothing,” someone who would “threaten a smear campaign” and his business tactics as “malicious” and “oppressive.”
Braun’s petition contends: “While Braun lived up to his end of the bargain and funded SCOPE to the tune of $5.2 million … Comisar was unable to secure a single investor commitment” and position the legal filing as “an attempt by a failure and opportunist to make a quick buck off someone else’s hard work.”
The tit for tat continues with Comisar’s assertion that his subsequent work on a new entity, STORY3 Capital Partners, launched in 2018 wherein he reportedly has raised $500 million, proves Comisar is skilled in fundraising. Not to be outdone, Braun contends those efforts should have benefitted SCOPE, to which Comisar was contracted to work for 100% of the time.
The dueling legal action may expand to additional claims in the coming days and weeks.
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