Vivendi SA (EPA:VIV), a French media company that experienced a 2002 financial collapse, is on the receiving end of a large payment. It has been ordered to fork out $950 million to be as a settlement with John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. (NASDAQ: LMCA). The ruling was passed by a New York federal jury.
As expected, Vivendi has argued that it was unrightfully judged and has made a clear stand that it will push on with appeals.
Liberty Media argued that Vivendi, under the oversight of the then chief Jean-Marie Messier, fraudulently held back information about its deplorable financial position. Apparently, Vivendi was then neck deep in the murky waters of financial adversity.
Back in December 2001, Vivendi inked an agreement estimated at $10 billion to buy the profitable USA cable network’s syfy channel. Apparently the deal also pushed USA’s productions television studios into Vivendi’s portfolio. However, the stretch of merry soon came to an early end after Vivendi fell off the cliff following its dreaded 2002 financial woes. Liberty Media which had a 21% stake in USA was dragged down with the collapse of Vivendi. Though Liberty Media did not suffer the same bitter fate as Vivendi, its 21% stake in USA was compromised.
Could it be a bruised ego?
Vivendi also lost a class action law suit in 2009 on grounds of misleading investors. This loss represents another the second one in the past three years. The losing streak seems to have bruised its ego, as the French company is adamant from backing down from its stand to proceed with appeals.
In a statement issued by the company, it highlighted that it was innocent and that there were many grounds for appeal.
Spokespeople for Vivendi and Liberty Media declined to comment on the matter.