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Liberty Media Wins 765 Million-Euro Vivendi Judgment

Liberty Media Corp. won a judge’s order for a 765 million euro ($999 million) judgment in its lawsuit against Vivendi SA with interest starting in December 2001, following a jury award last year.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan approved the judgment and interest using the average rate of return on one-year Treasury bills compounded annually, according to a court filing yesterday.

The case stems from Vivendi’s 2001 purchase of Liberty Media’s stake in USA Networks Inc. A jury awarded the damages, agreeing with Liberty Media’s claim that Paris-based Vivendi misled it about a liquidity crisis at the company, artificially inflating the value of its shares, which it used to make the purchase. The verdict is the fourth largest in the U.S. in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Vivendi opposed entry of final judgment because a verdict in a related class action hasn’t been appealed, according to Scheindlin’s order.

Liberty Media sought judgment in euros converted to dollars and interest of 9 percent a year, according to the filing. Scheindlin said the judgment would be in euros without conversion to U.S. dollars because Englewood, Colorado-based Liberty Media “bore risk and suffered losses” in euros.

The top U.S. verdict in 2012 was the $1.17 billion award to Carnegie Mellon University over Marvell Technology Group Ltd. Apple Inc.'s $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung Electronics Co. was second, followed by Monsanto Co.'s $1 billion victory over DuPont Co.

The case is Liberty Media Corp. v. Vivendi Universal SA, 03-cv-02175, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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