Malone: Liberty Made No Promises to Klesch


Liberty Media Corp. chairman John Malone testified during a federal court trial Monday in which London-based Klesch & Co. filed suit against Liberty, AP reported.

Klesch and Liberty were considering a $5 billion deal to buy a 55% stake in German cable assets from Deutsche Telekom AG, with the option of buying an additional 20%.

But banker Gary Klesch accused Liberty of trying to squeeze him out of the deal by negotiating behind his back and reducing his role in the venture, AP reported. Liberty said Klesch failed to live up to his end of the agreement.

Testifying about the aftermath of a meeting Feb. 9, 2001, Malone said, "I didn't feel we had any legally binding relationship whatsoever with Mr. Klesch. He hadn't shared anything with us other than public information. At that point, this was the very early stage. We came out of the meeting with an agreement to explore the prospect of potentially forming a venture."

Klesch & Co. is seeking at least $1 billion in damages from Liberty, Malone and Liberty CEO Robert Bennett, while Liberty is seeking up to $150,000 in a counterclaim, according to AP.