TV manufacturer Vizio alleges LeEco concocted a "secret plan" to create a false impression it was financially healthy and to steal information about customers.
Vizio is suing China's LeEco after a merger between the two companies was called off in April. The complaint, alleging fraud and breaches of agreement, comes days after a Shanghai court froze $182 million in assets controlled by LeEco chairman Jia Yueting over unpaid debts.
In a complaint filed in California federal court, Vizio alleges that when it entered into merger negotiations in December 2015, culminating in a deal in July 2016, the Chinese company's "far-flung corporate empire had begun to collapse due to their severe cash flow and financial problems, and that [LeEco] desperately needed to either obtain the instant financial stability, credibility and resources that a merger with VIZIO would bring, or at least to create a widespread and dramatic public impression of their own financial health and well-being to grow or continue in business that would come with the announcement of such an intended merger."
The Chinese company is also being accused of concocting a "secret plan" to leverage the merger "to gain or try to obtain access to VIZIO's large corporate customers and key decision makers thereat for their own purposes and by means of the confidential customer information that had been developed by VIZIO at substantial cost, time, and expense."
What's more, given the privacy sensitivities highlighted here, Vizio claims being induced into giving up access to "confidential customer information, including contact information, account history, purchasing needs or requirements, contract terms, and the like."
Vizio is now looking for the full $100 million and also demands punitive damages.