| SAN FRANCISCO, March 4
SAN FRANCISCO, March 4 The founder of a company
acquired by Yahoo Inc for $270 million said in a
lawsuit filed on Monday that Yahoo tried to "cheat" and
"humiliate" him by firing him at a bar weeks before his first
retention bonus was due.
The plaintiff, Michael Katz, said he was promised several
annual payments of $1.35 million, as well as other compensation,
when his online advertising company Interclick was acquired by
Yahoo in December 2011, according to the lawsuit filed in New
York state court.
Katz continued to run the Interclick business after the
acquisition, the lawsuit stated.
The complaint, which alleges breach of contract as well as
other claims, comes roughly seven months into the tenure of new
Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer, who is moving to revive
Yahoo's stagnant revenue and its popularity among consumers.
Mayer's management was in the spotlight last month after
news surfaced about a controversial new policy banning employees
from working at home.
Mayer is not mentioned in the lawsuit, and Yahoo declined to
comment on the case.
Yahoo acquired Interclick, whose technology helped companies
target online ads to consumers, eight months before Mayer became
CEO, when former Yahoo finance chief Tim Morse was serving as
the company's interim CEO. Katz served under several CEOs during
his one year at the company, including interim CEO Ross
Levinsohn who praised Katz as a "great visionary," according to
Yahoo had promised to pay Katz a "retention bonus" in three
annual installments of $1.35 million, the lawsuit said,
beginning in January 2013 and ending with a $450,000 payment in
According to the lawsuit, Yahoo's head of human resources
summoned Katz to a bar for what he believed was a pressing work
matter on a Sunday evening in December "while he was at home
observing the second night of Hannukah."
At the bar, Katz was informed that he was being terminated
"effective almost immediately," weeks before he was to be paid
the first of the retention bonuses.
The "rushed termination clearly was structured and timed as
an attempt to deprive him of the compensation he was promised
during the merger negotiations," according to the complaint.
The case in Supreme Court of the State of New York, County
of New York is Michael Katz vs. Yahoo, case number 0650740-2013.