Ovitz keeps $140M severance package
Judge rules that $140M severance package to Michael Ovitz should not be returned to Walt Disney.
August 9, 2005: 5:24 PM EDT

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) - A judge ruled Tuesday that the Walt Disney Co. board did not breach its duties in awarding a $140 million severance package to Michael Ovitz, a Hollywood dealmaker ousted as the company's president after just 14 months in the job.

The decision by Judge William Chandler of Delaware Chancery rejected the arguments of Disney shareholders, who said the media company should not have paid the severance to Ovitz.

Shareholders contended that Ovitz, who left Disney in 1996, failed miserably as Disney president and should have been fired for cause. The lawsuit had sought the $140 million payout plus interest returned to the company.

Shares of Disney (Research) fell over 1 percent in after-hours trading Tuesday