Vivendi to Pay $775 Million to Liberty Media in Lawsuit Settlement


PARIS: Vivendi has agreed to pay $775 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Liberty Media in 2003 regarding the acquisition of what was then known as USA Networks.

Liberty Media filed a lawsuit in March 2003 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, related to the formation of Vivendi Universal Entertainment in May 2002. Liberty alleged that Vivendi had inflated the value of its stock that it used to acquire the entertainment assets.

A jury ruled in favor of Liberty Media, and in January 2013, the District Court awarded Liberty Media 945 million euros ($1.04 billion) in damages and pre-judgment interest. An appeal and cross-appeal were subsequently filed by Vivendi and Liberty Media with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The cross-appeal of Liberty Media sought 584 million euros ($644 million) in additional pre-judgment interest and, if Liberty had prevailed on that issue, would have increased the award to €1.529 billion ($1.729 billion).

As a result of the settlement, the letter of credit issued as a guarantee for the amounts awarded by the jury will be terminated and the related cash deposit will be returned to Vivendi.

Vivendi issued a statement saying that the settlement “should not be construed as a concession by Vivendi of the validity of any of Liberty Media’s claims, or as an admission of any wrongdoing by Vivendi. Rather, despite the jury’s verdict, Vivendi continues to maintain that it did not commit any wrongdoing. Nevertheless, Vivendi is pleased to resolve this long-running dispute with Liberty Media on terms that Vivendi believes are in the interest of both the company and its shareholders.”