A division of News Corporation, the company that owns Fox News, 20th Century Fox and The Wall Street Journal, agreed to pay $500 million to settle a lawsuit over its allegedly anti-competitive business practices.
The division? One that publishes coupon inserts that brought in 7% of the company’s operating income last year, with $73 million, according to The New York Times.
News America Marketing had been sued by competitor Valassis in three different jurisdictions. A similar case settled last year, with the plaintiff, Floorgraphics, presenting testimony by a former News America Marketing that the company had “illegally accessed [Floorgraphics’] computer system and obtained propriety information from the computer system,” the article said.
News Corporation president and COO, Chase Carey said of the Valassis settlement, “It has become evident to our legal advisers from pretrial proceedings over the past couple of weeks that significant risks were developing in presenting this case to a jury. That, coupled with concerns over the venue, led us to believe it was in the best interests of the company and its stockholders to agree to a settlement.”
Cases like this represent what is often at stake in big ticket litigation — not only the claims between the two parties, but also a chance for shareholders and competitors to get a huge peak at what goes on behind closed doors. It’s also an example of the luxury of having deep pockets behind you, if that makes you a target at the same time.
The NYT has a full report on the settlement; it described he allegations as targeting News America Marketing’s “bare-knuckle business tactic.”
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