Updated below: The IAC-Liberty dispute (or Diller-Malone, if you think it’s all personal) is long past the point of getting ugly. In its latest salvo, a filing in Delaware court obtained by WSJ, IAC (NSDQ: IACI) calls Liberty Media’s (NSDQ: LINTA) motion to remove Barry Diller from IAC’s board an “irresponsible ploy” designed “to create management and market chaos for IAC.” This is all a prelude to a larger battle, but in the short-term, IAC believes its audit committee may not be able sign off on earnings currently scheduled for next week. Stay tuned.
Staci adds: Liberty filed an amended ownership document with the SEC after hours. It details the various moves of the past few weeks and puts into bas relief Liberty’s own “corporate coup” — to borrow one of the company’s descriptions of Diller’s moves. The filing follows up on Liberty’s moves earlier this week to strip Diller of his place at the head of BDTV and its various entities (those are the companies used to hold most of Liberty’s interests in IAC). Liberty replaced him with its CEO, Greg Maffei, and used that to amend the bylaws, order the removal of Diller and others from the IAC board and replace them with Maffei and two other Liberty reps. Liberty is seeking a ruling in Delaware Chancery Court that upholds these moves and requires IAC to maintain the status quo.
Liberty’s amended bylaws essentially would prohibit IAC management from doing anything except existing — no deals for anything valued more than $10 million, nothing but routine third-party agreements, etc.