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Judge Narrows Vivendi's Shareholder Lawsuit Exposure

The decision eliminates more than 80 percent of the potential damages that could have been awarded against the media and telecom company.

NEW YORK - Vivendi said Wednesday that it won a court victory as a U.S. judge narrowed its potential financial exposure in an investor lawsuit.

The suit, which charges that shareholders were misled about the company's finances about a decade ago, could have led to estimated payments of close to $10 billion.

The judge's ruling eliminated more than 80 percent of the potential damages that could have been awarded following the jury’s verdict against Vivendi in Jan. 2010, the company said.

The French media and telecom firm said the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has dismissed the claims of all purchasers of Vivendi’s ordinary shares and limited the case to claims of French, American, British and Dutch purchasers of Vivendi’s American depositary shares. The ruling was expected after a recent Supreme Court decision, it said.

“We are very satisfied" with the decision, said Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy. “It is a substantial victory for Vivendi."

The company has long argued that claims by shareholders who purchased Vivendi ordinary shares should not be brought before a U.S. court.