John C. Malone, chairman of the board of Liberty Media Corp., will pay a $1.4 million penalty to settle charges he violated pre-merger requirements when he acquired Discovery Holding Co. stock, the Justice Department said.
The settlement, if approved by a federal judge, would resolve a Justice Department civil antitrust lawsuit filed today in Washington, the department said in a statement. The suit was filed at the request of the Federal Trade Commission.
Malone is accused of failing to notify U.S. antitrust enforcers before acquiring voting stock of Discovery, according to the Justice Department. After submitting a corrected notification, he also allegedly bought additional shares without waiting the required time. Those are violations of the Hart- Scott-Rodino Act and occurred from August 2005 though July 2008, according to the Justice Department.
The law is “well-known to companies and individuals making acquisitions,” said Marian Bruno, deputy director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, in a statement. “The significant civil penalties imposed here should reinforce the need to fully comply with the act, including observing the waiting period.”
Malone declined to comment, said Courtnee Ulrich, a spokeswoman for Liberty Media, based in Englewood, Colorado.
Discovery Holding was created in 2005 when Malone’s Liberty Media spun off its ownership stake in Discovery Communications Inc. (DISCA:US), the operator of cable television’s Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.
Discovery Communications, based in Silver Spring, Maryland, began trading on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange in September.
Malone was chairman and chief executive officer of Discovery Holding Co., which no longer exists.
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