Business News Industry People Legal Live Business

Superfly co-founder sues after being pushed out of the business

By | Published on Friday 1 April 2022


One of the founders of US events and marketing agency Superfly – a company perhaps best known in the music industry as co-promoter of the Bonnaroo festival up until 2019 – has sued his co-founders after seemingly being pushed out of the business last summer.

According to Billboard, Jonathan Mayers was basically fired by Superfly last August and he has been seeking to agree a settlement with his former business partners ever since. With no settlement reached, the whole thing has now gone legal.

Mayers founded Superfly with Kerry Black, Rick Farman and Rich Goodstone back in 1996, initially as a concert promoter, before moving into festivals and later event-based marketing. In terms of Bonnaroo, Live Nation came on board as a partner in 2015, subsequently buying Superfly out of the festival in 2019. Meanwhile, a private equity outfit called Virgo Investment Group started backing the wider Superfly business in 2018.

In more recent years, Mayers was seemingly leading a new division at the company backed by Virgo’s money which was working on creating events and interactive experiences around TV comedy franchises, initially ‘Friends’. However, Mayers’ own work in that domain was halted last August when he was pushed out of the company entirely.

According to legal papers seen by Billboard, it was Virgo that informed Mayers his services were no longer required, and since then he has never actually had the opportunity to speak with his co-founders about that decision.

But Mayer still has a 22% stake in the Superfly business which Virgo is now required to buy. The legal dispute centres on the valuation of that stake. Both sides have done some maths and have come up with significantly different valuations, Virgo valuing Mayer’s stake at about a quarter of what he thinks it’s worth. Hence the litigation.

Commenting on the legal dispute with its founder, Superfly told Billboard: “Superfly’s board of directors made the decision to part ways with co-founder Jonathan Mayers in August of 2021. As company policy, we do not discuss ongoing litigation. Since that time, Superfly has seen robust growth with current and new projects, licences and clients. Our business is healthier than ever as we wrap up Q1 2022″.