US judge agrees Televisa’s $95m settlement for shareholders in World Cup bribery case

August 11 – Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa, whose shares are trade on the New York Stock Exchange, will pay a $95 million settlement to a group of investors who claimed that Televisa’s alleged bribery to obtain broadcast rights to four World Cups cost them millions of dollars in share value.

A federal court judge approved the settlement to investors who bought or acquired Televisa American depositary receipts from April 11, 2013, to Nov. 17, 2017.

The Colleges of Applied Arts & Technology Pension Plan, which brought the initial complaint and owns Televisa shares, alleged that investors lost hundreds of millions of dollars as the company’s shares fell after media reports that Televisa had bribed its way to the broadcast rights to the 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030 World Cups.

The investor allegations were filed after the alleged recipient of the bribe, Alejandro Burzaco of Argentinian sports marketing company TyC, testified that he had received $7.25 million from Televisa to secure rights to the World Cup. That testimony was given as part of a FIFAgate case at the trial of three South American football officials.

Televisa issued a statement to investors saying that the allegations were meritless last November, but that “eliminating the distraction, expense and risk of continued litigation is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.”

In agreeing the settlement, Judge Stanton said it was fair and reasonable, and that it benefits the investors in light of the costs and complexity of further litigation.

Televisa said it anticipated that its insurance policies would cover most of the settlement sum, with company contributing about $21.5 million.

Perhaps the biggest winners were the lawyers with Boies Schiller Flexner LLP and Sugarman Susskind Braswell & Herrera awarded fees worth 30% of the settlement and $1.1 million in litigation costs.

The parties settled in February, though the judge only issued the order this month.

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