League of Legends

Echo Fox plans to remove Rick Fox as general partner



▲ Image Source: Riot Games

Esports organization Echo Fox has sent a letter to co-founder and general partner Rick Fox stating 80% of Echo Fox shareholders' agreed motion to remove him from the organization in all capacity. The letter was obtained by ESPN and reported by ESPN Esports' Jacob Wolf on Friday, September 27th.

The letter was signed by Vision Esports head Stratton Sclavos, investor Daniel Deshe, Raizada Group manager Ravi Srivastava and Fox's  partner Khalid Jones. Fox and Jones' company, SourceRock Ventures, acquired its general partnership stake in Echo Fox in October 2018 from co-founder Amit Raizada for $10 million in financed loans.

In the letter, the writing parties claim  that Fox repeatedly worked against the best interest of the company and his partners, alleging that he was negligent, forced the sale to auction by Riot Games and told others he would, "burn this company to the ground." in reference to Echo Fox. The context of the quote was no provided.

The report also states that in the letter, the shareholders alleged that Fox tried to poach three employees —  Echo Fox president Jared Jeffries, head of public relations Haley Hey, and general manager Jake Fyfe — after Fox took over Echo Fox operations in full in October 2018. Fyfe left the organization of his own volition for a job at NantG. Sources close to Fox told ESPN that NantG owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, who also owns the LA Times, is owed $2.5 million by Fox.

On August 16th, the LCS forced Echo Fox to sell its franchise in a 30-day open auction in which Riot, in collaboration with Echo Fox, would decide the best suitable buyer. Upcomer reported shortly after that sources told the former publication that shareholders had started demanding for Fox's resignation. 

It was also stated in the letter that on August 16th, Fox fired many of the team's employees, which the shareholders claim has become detrimental to winding down the business's operations.

Fox also advocated for the acceptance of an offer from Mosaic Media Investment Partners despite his shareholder's wishes.

Last Thursday, Riot Games agreed to sell the team to Evil Geniuses for $33 million, with the additional $2.5 million covering owings to LCS from the Echo Fox side.  According to the letter, Fox went against the advice from his shareholders and investment bank by refusing to take an offer from Evil Geniuses for $30.5 million prior to the forced auction. 

To make matters even more complicated, Rick Fox is also in a separate Echo Fox-related dispute with Stratton Sclavos. The head of Vision Esports raised $11.3 million for Echo Fox in late 2017 and early 2018 as a larger $38 million funding round for Echo Fox parent Vision Venture Partners. The shareholders are hoping to install a new general partner who will resolve the dispute amicably, sources said.

Echo Fox's internal turmoil began in April when Rick Fox expressed his intentions to leave the organization after multiple alleged incidents of shareholder Amit Raizada using racial slurs towards Fox and former Echo Fox CEO Jace Hall.

A subsequent LCS investigation ended with a demand of FOX to remove Raizada, but internal disputes continued past the deadline and well into the subsequent sale discussions. 

Kroenke Sports & Entertainment was proposed as a buyer of the Echo Fox spot in a proposal to the LCS by the latter on July 23.

Despite all looking set for KSE Esports to reclaim Phoenix1's old LCS spot for the 2020 season,disputes between the Kroenke Group and managing esports partner Sentinels escalated to lawsuit territory before Kroenke pulled out of the deal. 

Eventually, it was agreed upon that Riot Games would sell the spot on behalf of Echo Fox.


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