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Wright's Hive Mind facing legal issues

By Rachel Weber

Wright's Hive Mind facing legal issues

Mon 04 Jun 2012 7:42am GMT / 3:42am EDT / 12:42am PDT

SimCity creator's studio frozen in battle with ex-CEO Jawad Ansari

Hive Mind, the start-up created by Sim's creator Will Wright, is the subject of a legal battle launched by its former CEO.

GamesBeat reports that co-founder and ex-CEO Jawad Ansari filed legal action against Hive Mind's directors, Wright and Raj Parekh, and Wright's think tank Stupid Fun Club. He claimed Wright and Parekh tried to push him out of the company, and denied him his 30 per cent equity.

Originally tasked with raising $5 million for the start up on 120 days, Ansari alleges that EA's John Riccitiello offered investment, but the deal was turned down by Wright over the concerns of other Hive Mind employees. Wright also cancelled meetings with Warner executives, before replacing Ansari as CEO. Wright and Parekh then closed the company, and Ansari claimed the pair then tried to sell Hive Mind IP through Stupid Fun Club.

Wright's attorney, David Lisi, disputed the claims, and Wright and Parekh launched a countersuit. It suggested Ansari had "volatile and erratic work habits," and did not have the secure commitments for funding.

The legal battle has left Hive Mind in limbo, said Wright.

"Hive Mind is still a company. But it has no money. No nothing. It's just sitting there because of the litigation. It is frozen. It's so complex and there's quite a bit of disappointment," he explained.

"It's a shame this didn't work out. We have to find out where this is going in the near term."

The legal papers also reveal that Hive Mind was in talks with Zynga over an acquisition or investment deal, but fell through after Parekh and Wright left the company. The social gaming giant had allegedly valued Hive Mind at $75 million.

Wright originally announced the start up in November last year.

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