Denver -- Tele-Communications Inc. will pay $6.1 million to
settle a class-action suit brought by shareholders, who said the cable giant participated
in both sides of a sale, to the detriment of individual investors.
The settlement was reached on the eve of trial and approved
by U.S. District Court Judge Walker Miller here.
The settlement will be disbursed among 6,800 shareholders
who invested in cable systems in California, Tennessee and Georgia. The general
partnerships were run by United Video Satellite Group Inc. CEO Gary Howard, who, at the
same time, was the TCI vice president working on the acquisition, according to the
plaintiffs' attorney, George Croner.
Howard's dual role was disclosed in documents to the
investors, but that did not satisfy them, Croner said.
"You can't disclose your way out of fiduciary
duty," he added.
Investors alleged that the partnership management ignored
higher bidders in favor of TCI, while the MSO maintained that the higher bidders had
Croner said the plaintiffs decided to settle because the
suit had already gone on for nearly four years, and because TCI increased its settlement
offer substantially on the eve of trial.