Corporate investor Barry Diller has agreed to pay $480,000 to settle claims he violated federal antitrust law when he acquired hundreds of thousands of shares of The Coca-Cola Co. between 2010 and 2012.
Diller, a billionaire media mogul known for heading a number of entertainment companies, failed to observe a waiting period and notify federal officials when he acquired 989,000 voting shares of Coca Cola between November 2010 and April 2012, according to a complaint filed today by the Federal Trade Commission in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, investors are required to notify antitrust agencies and observe certain waiting periods when they buy securities valued above certain amounts. In a court filing in Diller's case, the U.S. Department of Justice said the waiting period was necessary to give federal antitrust agencies time to investigate securities purchases before they happen.
At the same time the complaint was filed, the government notified the court that Diller had agreed to pay a $480,000 civil penalty to settle the charges.
The complaint noted Diller’s transgression wasn’t the first time he failed to follow antitrust law. In 1998, he failed to file the required notification and observe the waiting period when he acquired shares of an internet company, CitySearch Inc. In that case, according to the complaint, the Federal Trade Commission didn't recommend seeking civil penalties but said Diller would be responsible for taking steps to make sure he complied with the law in the future.
Diller is represented by Joseph Larson, an antitrust partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York. Neither could immediately be reached for comment.