Mark Cuban Negotiated A New 'Shark Tank' Deal With Sony Entirely Over An App That Deletes All Messages
Amid the long list of leaked emails from December's massive Sony hack was an exchange involving billionaire investor Mark Cuban, Mark Cuban Companies general counsel Robert Hart, and Sony Pictures Television president Steve Mosko regarding a "Shark Tank" contract that Cuban deemed "beyond an insult" and threatened to leave the show over.
After the leak, Cuban told Business Insider, the billionaire investor decided to negotiate a new deal with Mosko using his free texting app Cyber Dust, which features texts that disappear after 20-100 seconds, depending on length.
Last week Cuban sent a message to all of his Cyber Dust contacts, including BI, informing them he handled the negotiation of a new contract exclusively over the app.
We followed up with Cuban over email about the specifics of the deal and his decision to use Cyber Dust. Here's our full back-and-forth, edited for format:
Business Insider: Was there any reluctance from Sony to negotiate over Cyber Dust?
Mark Cuban: No, they were wide open to it. My lawyer and I communicate almost exclusively in CD so she was able to communicate the benefits to Sony. It was simple to get them using.
BI: Are there any details surrounding the deal that you can share?
MC: Once Sony was back to business, it went pretty quickly. Despite what was reported about the one email the primary negotiating issues were about how closed deals could use Shark Tank IP in their marketing.
ABC and Sony have really come a long way in their understanding of the needs of the entrepreneurs. We were able to get through a checklist pretty quickly and get the deal closed.
BI: Is this a practice you will repeat in the future?
MC: I've been using it since we started Cyber Dust.
Interestingly, the leaked emails didn't tell the full story behind Cuban's anger.
The proposed deal that Cuban rejected called for a salary of about $30,000 per episode from Season 5 through Season 7, required Cuban to promote the show on any channel it was syndicated on, and even suggested that Sony could copyright Cuban's "catchphrases" and gestures. Much more important, according to our interview with Cuban, was the way that Sony wanted to restrict entrepreneurs' use of the "Shark Tank" brand in their marketing.
It's not the first time Cuban threatened to leave "Shark Tank" in part because of how entrepreneurs are treated on the show. In late 2013, Cuban forced the show's production company Finnmax toretroactively remove a clause that required every "Shark Tank" contestant to give Finnmax either 2% of their profits or 5% equity in their company.
From what Cuban told us, however, it looks like he's happy with where all the forces behind "Shark Tank" are right now.
- Why Lori Greiner Calls This Husband-And-Wife Team Her Next Big 'Shark Tank' Success Story
- Robert Herjavec's Brilliant Advice Helped His Favorite 'Shark Tank' Investment Double Sales
- Kevin O'Leary Made The Biggest Deal In 'Shark Tank' History With This Innovative Wine Company