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IAC's Diller wins court battle with Liberty

Michele Gershberg, PTI  New York, March 29, 2008
First Published: 15:51 IST(29/3/2008) | Last Updated: 16:12 IST(29/3/2008)

InterActiveCorp (IAC) chief Barry Diller won a bitter legal dispute with Liberty Media Corp's John Malone on Friday, paving the way for him to proceed with efforts to spin off four of IAC's largest units.


Shares in Internet conglomerate IAC surged more than 8 per cent on the Delaware Chancery Court ruling, which blocked Liberty's effort to oust Chairman and Chief Executive Diller and six other IAC board members.

The decision followed a week-long court battle that exposed a deteriorating friendship between the two billionaire media moguls after more than a decade of business dealings.

It also opened the door for further disputes between Malone and Diller, who must now return to the table and either work through the contentious spin-off or agree to swap IAC assets for Liberty's stake in the company.

"I wish this hadn't happened, but it did," Diller said in a statement. "Now it's over and we can all get on with our work and lives."

Liberty and IAC sued each other in January over Diller's plan to structure the spun-off units with a single-class share structure that would halve Liberty's voting control over the businesses as separate entities.

Liberty owns about 30 percent of IAC, but retains 62 percent control through a class of super-voting shares. But Diller runs IAC through a long-standing proxy agreement that gives him the sole right to vote those shares.

The agreement became a point of contention between cable mogul Malone and Diller, a former film and television executive, as IAC's financial results and share performance lagged comparable market indicators.

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