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Barry Diller and John Malone's Court Battle Brings Back All Our Bad Breakups

Diller Waits
Last October, when Barry Diller picked up The Wall Street Journal and saw his business partner in IAC, Liberty Media founder John Malone, sniping that although once there was a Barry Diller premium on Wall Street, "Today you could argue there is a Barry discount," among other things, he felt not unlike Minnie Driver when she found out Matt Damon was breaking up with her by hearing it on Oprah. "How could they be that mean?" Diller whined in Delaware chancery court yesterday. "How could they be that hostile?" For two weeks, he sat around, "waiting for the phone to ring," he said. "I expected John Malone to call me and apologize." But the call never came. Diller's testimony is the last in the trial that will determine the fate of IAC, and his statements yesterday underscore the fact that while Diller, Malone, and Malone's deputy boy toy Gregory Maffei may act as though their fight is over what's best for shareholders, this battle is personal, and that whatever the outcome of the trial, the ending to the IAC story was written long ago. Specifically, in those dark, cold months between the fall and Christmas. It was December 21, when Malone finally approached Diller, who told him: "You lost me." Scenes From a Marriage [Portfolio]

Do John Malone and Barry Diller Have Irreconcilable Differences?

Well, it's time. With heads bowed and hearts, perhaps, heavy, longtime partners Barry Diller and John Malone will appear in Delaware chancery court today, where a judge will help the two moguls, who have been financially intertwined for the past twenty years, make up or break up. The court visit comes after a lengthy and sometimes ugly public battle, during which Malone maligned Diller's lavish lifestyle and Diller called Malone "crazy," among other things. For two well-regarded, exceedingly clever businessmen, it has been something of an undignified spectacle. Why, many are asking, couldn't they just work it out?

Barry Diller Just Doesn't Want Delaware to Hurt Too Much

Barry Diller can only hope justice will be swift next week, when he and his comrade turned nemesis John Malone, of Liberty Media, meet in Delaware court to face off over Diller's future with his Liberty-backed company, InterActive Corp. Or surrender, as the case may be. "It's very odd that two people who don't want to give up control of anything are giving control to a judge in Delaware," he said at a Variety event at the Four Seasons yesterday. Speaking about the lawsuit Malone filed against him after he said he wanted to break up the company, Diller expressed, for the second time in as many months, traces of doubt and humility, emotions that had previously eluded him. "The wonderful thing about Delaware is they do it quickly," Diller added. "They make a decision quickly." Aw. Kind of like when your mom pulls a Band-Aid off an ouchy, right, Barry? Diller Expresses Doubt at Event [Variety] Related: Heavyweights Barry Diller and John Malone Get in the Ring

Barry Diller and John Malone Break Out the Big Guns

Barry Diller and John Malone
It's a rumble! Yesterday Liberty Corp John Malone took steps to seize control of IAC/InterActiveCorp from IAC chairman Barry Diller, in a move that marked an "escalation of hostilities" between Diller and his longtime backer Malone. That's how The Wall Street Journal put it, but to us it sounds more like nuclear war. Malone signaled he was plotting a coup in IAC — a $7 billion conglomerate that includes the Home Shopping Network and Ticketmaster — when he upped his stake earlier this month, and last week, the two filed suit against each other in Delaware Chancery Court. Now, Malone is attempting to get around a proxy agreement that guarantees Diller a voting stake in IAC, and eject him from the company for good, citing Diller's "misconduct" and criticizing the giant paychecks he writes himself. "I am beginning to think these people are insane," Diller said in a statement. "Everything they cite is hogwash." Business Week suggests that Malone's Machiavellian maneuvering has less to do with his concern for shareholders and more to do with the fact that he is trying to get a cut-rate deal for the Home Shopping Network, so that he may merge it with Liberty's QVC, creating one monster television and online outlet for porcelain vases and zirconium jewelry. But is their highly public battle only going to scorch the earth? Malone Moves to Oust Diller [Business Week] Liberty Media Moves to Take IAC From Diller [WSJ] Earlier: Barry Diller and John Malone Kick Each Other Under the Table; Barry Diller and John Malone Get in the Ring