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Liberty Media chief to pay $1.4m fine

Associated Press / June 24, 2009
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WASHINGTON - Cable television pioneer John Malone will pay a $1.4 million penalty after authorities said yesterday that he did not follow government rules on reporting major stock purchases over a three-year period.

The Justice Department announced the settlement with Malone, chairman of Liberty Media Corp., for his acquisition of shares of Discovery Holding Co.

Authorities said Malone failed to abide by antitrust pre-merger notification rules before acquiring shares of Discovery in 2005, and continued to acquire Discovery voting securities through April 2008. Last year, he made a corrective filing. Yesterday, the government filed a lawsuit and proposed settlement in federal court. It said that even after Malone’s corrective filing, he acquired additional Discovery securities by exercising options. Court papers allege Malone violated reporting requirements from 2005 to 2008.

The law requires notification and a waiting period on individuals and companies over a certain size before they complete acquisitions resulting in holding stock or assets above a certain value. In 2005, that value was $53.1 million.

Liberty said the company has no comment.