GLOBAL - The $230bn (€175bn) California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) has recovered $117.7m (€89.2m) from media firm Time Warner in a settlement of a lawsuit brought in 2003.
The lawsuit, which centred on accounting irregularities, had named not only Time Warner but several serving and former directors of the firm, auditors Ernst & Young and financial advisers involved in Time Warner's 2001 merger with AOL. CalPERS claimed the companies had used sham transactions and "improper accounting practices" before and after the merger to overstate AOL's income.
The settlement announced today covers all the defendants except Ernst & Young. The case involving the accounting firm continues.
Peter Mixon, a lawyer for CalPERS, claimed in a press statement that the settlement had delivered "17 times more" than it would had the pension fund not taken the decision to move out of a class action alleging securities fraud. In 2005 Time Warner agreed to settle the class action for $2.4bn and to pay $300m to settle civil suits brought by the Securities & Exchange Commission.
Mixon said the fund was "pleased" with today's verdict.
CalPERS' case was assessed by Los Angeles County Superior Court together with those brought by the $133bn California State Teachers' Retirement System and the $9bn Los Angeles City Retirement Funds (LACERS).