Barry Diller fined $480K over Coca-Cola acquisition

Media mogul and corporate investor Barry Diller, who created the Fox Broadcasting Co. and headed Paramount Pictures, will pay a $480,000 civil penalty to settle charges he violated premerger reporting and waiting requirements when he acquired voting securities of the Coca Cola Co., the Justice Department said Tuesday.

The department’s Antitrust Division, at the request of the Federal Trade Commission, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Mr. Diller in U.S. District Court in Washington, saying he violated the notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act of 1976.

At the same time, the department filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, will settle the charges.

The act, an amendment to the Clayton Act, imposes notification and waiting period requirements on individuals and companies over a certain size before they consummate acquisitions resulting in holding stock or assets above a certain value.

At the time of Mr. Diller’s violations, his holdings ranged from $63.4 million to $68.2 million and are currently $70.9 million, the Justice Department said.

Mr. Diller, 71, a billionaire, is the chairman and a senior executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp, a giant media and Internet company with more than 150 brands and products. He was the corporation’s chief executive officer until 2010. He also serves as chairman of the online travel site Expedia and has been on the board of Coca-Cola since 2002.

Federal courts can assess civil penalties for premerger notification violations under the act in lawsuits brought by the department. The maximum civil penalty for violation of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act is $16,000 a day.

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