Cablevision agrees to settle lawsuit

Also agrees to adopt corporate governance reforms

NEW YORK -- Cablevision Systems Corp. on Thursday agreed to settle an investor lawsuit over its stock options award practices in a pact worth $34.4 million, with a group of 16 individual defendants paying about two-thirds of the settlement.

A group of individuals, including Cablevision executives, directors and a consultant, will contribute $24.4 million of the settlement, while directors and officers' insurance is expected to cover the remaining $10 million, the law firm Grant & Eisenhofer said in a statement.

Cablevision confirmed the settlement.

"None of the parties who entered into the settlement agreement has acknowledged any liability or wrongdoing and each made their contribution solely to facilitate a settlement," said Cablevision senior vice president Charles Schueler.

Under the pact, the cable operator also agreed to adopt certain corporate governance reforms related to its pay practices.

The settlement resolves a shareholder lawsuit contending that the company engaged in improper stock options backdating practices in awards given to executives and directors from 1997 to 2002. The case was pending in New York State Supreme Court.

Cablevision shares rose 3 cents, or less than 1%, to close at $27.25 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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