Swizz Beatz and Timbaland have insisted that they still own 100 percent of the VERZUZ platform — but some fans are calling shenanigans on the claim.
Taking to Instagram Live on Saturday (May 13), the pair insisted that the platform — whose popularity exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic — was still co-owned in its entirety by the two super-producers.
“VERZUZ is still 100 percent Black-owned,” Swizz said. “50 percent on the top of your screen, and 50 percent on the bottom of your screen. In case you ain’t know. Word to Allah. Okay?”
He continued: “It was built for the people, and it will stay with the people. And we love everybody.”
Swizz Beatz & Timbaland claim they still own 100% of Verzuz despite Triller sale 👀 pic.twitter.com/9ff0sJs5ct
— My Voice News (@talktomenowtv) May 15, 2023
It didn’t take long for fans to jump in and remark that Swizz Beatz and Timbaland actually sold a majority of the shares of VERZUZ to Triller back in March 2021.
At the time, Variety reported that Triller’s parent company, Triller Network, acquired the VERZUZ platform, though Swizz Beatz and Timbaland still retained shares of the company as part of the deal. The super-producer pair also joined the Triller management team, and “allocated part of their equity stake to the 43 performers who’ve appeared on Verzuz to date to help oversee music and other company strategies,” per the outlet.
There is no more disruptive and innovative brand in music today than Verzuz,” said Bobby Sarnevesht, executive chairman and co-owner of Triller, in announcing the acquisition. “Both Triller and Verzuz share the ‘artist first, music first’ vision. We view this acquisition as more of a partnership than an acquisition, as Swizz, Timbaland and the other 43 artists who are all becoming shareholders and partners in Triller Verzuz from this day forward become our voice.”
The key term here is “acquisition,” because it means that Triller — not Swizz Beatz and Timbaland — own the platform.
In September 2022, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the pair settled a lawsuit they filed against Triller’s CEO, Ryan Kavanaugh, for failing to provide the $28 million infusion of capital that he was due to provide as part of the acquisition deal.
The outlet also confirmed that Kavanaugh’s Proxima Media, a media investment firm that invests in sports media and entertainment companies, is the majority owner of VERZUZ.