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French Company Must Pay Nearly $1 Billion in Breach of Contract Action

Posted on Jan 01, 2016

In a recent Manhattan federal court decision, it was ordered that the French company Vivendi pay Liberty Media nearly $1 billion in damages in a breach of contract lawsuit. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued the ruling, granting Liberty 765 million Euros—equivalent to $954.6 million dollars—in damages. The award comes as a result of Vivendi’s 2001 purchase of Liberty Media’s stake in USA Networks.

At the time that Vivendi purchased USA Networks, it included the cable networks USA Network, Sci-Fi Channel, and Trio. It also purchased several other cable networks as well as the Universal Pictures movie studios in several deals taking place during 2000 and 2001. The French company was trying to position itself as an international media company. As part of the deal to purchase USA Networks, Vivendi received Liberty Media’s minority stake in the channels in exchange for shares in Vivendi.

In its lawsuit, which was initially filed in 2003, Liberty Media alleged that Vivendi breached the contract by misrepresenting its financial status, failing to disclose the true debt load, and failing to disclose issues with liquidity. Vivendi released a statement stating that it “strongly disagrees” with the verdict. Liberty Media, however, is confident that the decision will stand and intends to seek pre-judgment interest on the award.

To learn more about this lawsuit and other New York breach of contract matters, contact an experienced New York business litigation attorney today. Call our office at (888) 497-3410 for a free consultation. 

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