Keep an eye on: Diller vs. Malone

January 25, 2008

John Malone (l.) and Barry Diller in 1996Barry Diller versus John Malone: Professional boxing wishes it had a heavyweight battle like this media matchup.

Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp has sued its controlling shareholder, Malone’s Liberty Media, in a dispute that threatens the Internet conglomerate’s spin-off plans.

IAC and Diller asked a Delaware Chancery Court to rule that the spin-off may go forward as unanimously approved by IAC’s board, which includes Liberty Media Chairman John Malone.

Liberty countersued, accusing Diller and IAC’s board of structuring the spin-off to “wrest eventual control of IAC’s businesses away from Liberty” by diluting its voting power to just under 30 percent from nearly 62 percent. Liberty asked the court to stop the proposed IAC spin-off, to find that Diller and the IAC board of directors breached their fiduciary duties, and to award damages to Liberty.

Diller has long held the right to vote Liberty Media’s IAC shares, and he said in the lawsuit that he intended to vote all of those shares in favor of the board-approved spin off. Malone wants the companies to maintain a tiered structure and aims to control each of the newly formed companies.

MediaFile has previously noted that anything could happen before the spin-off, and now that seems even more true.


Keep an eye on:

  • Global digital music sales rose to $2.9 billion last year, from $2.1 billion a year earlier, making up about 15 percent of total sales, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said. (New York Times) (Reuters)
  • The long-anticipated auction of wireless airwaves in the 700 Mhz frequency range kicked off with top (secret) bidders putting up almost $2.78 billion between them. Google, EchoStar and Cablevision qualified to bid along with the usual wireless suspects AT&T and Verizon Wireless. (Reuters) (GigaOm)
  • Eric Feng, the CTO of Hulu, says the online video service has several hundred thousand users; has tripled its amount of content since private beta launch; and expects high definition video will be rolled out gradually over the coming year. (TechCrunch)

(Photo: Reuters file)

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