NEW YORK Barry Diller called Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei an “irresponsible executive” during testimony Thursday in a court trial to decide the fate of IAC/InterActiveCorp, the publicly traded company made up mostly of a hodgepodge of Internet assets.
Diller added that he rejected, on the grounds that they were unfair, several offers from Liberty chairman John Malone to swap some of IAC’s assets in return for Liberty’s 30 percent stake in IAC.
An IAC lawyer testified earlier Thursday that talks between representatives of Diller and Malone that have been on-and-off for months still are taking place, even as the two duke it out in court.
Diller said he would still pursue his plan of splitting IAC into five separate companies, and slashing Malone’s voting stake from 62 percent to 30 percent, if vice chancellor Stephen Lamb, overseeing the trial with no jury, grants permission.
Liberty lawyer Kevin Abrams asked Diller if he’d like to take control of IAC. “Yes, if I could,” he said.
“I don’t know how far I would get,” he added. “I’m not sure the number of shares I would need to acquire I would obtain.”
Also at issue is Diller’s right to vote Liberty’s 62 percent, a right that Malone bestowed upon his onetime friend and that he now seeks to reverse.
Liberty attorney Pamela Seymon testified that the firm knew it had surrendered its right to veto IAC transactions it might not agree with like Diller’s plan to split up the company.
“These are sophisticated people. No one took advantage of anyone,” she said.