US cable operator Liberty Media has won almost US$1bn in damages relating to a lawsuit involving USA Network more than a decade ago.
French entertainment group Vivendi has been ordered to pay damages worth €765m (US$954.6m) after a jury supported one claim of breach of contract and one of fraud against Liberty Media.
Vivendi was found to have made misleading statements about its financial health in 2001 at the time Liberty Media acquired a stake in Vivendi in return for shares in USA Network.
The deal was worth more than US$10bn but when Liberty Media came to sell the shares in 2003, their value had plummeted. A lawsuit was filed that same year when Liberty claimed Vivendi had not disclosed the true state of its finances.
Following the verdict, Vivendi said it “strongly disagrees” with the verdict and was considering an appeal.
However, a statement from Liberty Media said: “Liberty is confident that the court will deny that request and that the jury’s decision will stand.”
Vivendi currently controls companies such as French pay-TV network Canal+, while Liberty Media’s assets include premium cablenet Starz. It also has shares in Viacom and Time Warner.