ROW settles Fox lawsuit out of court

Tiny distribber had small chance of winning, prexy sez

TORONTO — Toronto-based Records on Wheels has settled its C$65 million ($42.1 million) lawsuit against the Canadian division of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment out of court for less than $65,000.

ROW, a small, Toronto-based CD, video and DVD distributor, had launched its $42.1 million suit against Fox after Fox dropped ROW from its client list in 1997. In its statement of claim, ROW contended that Fox is obligated to sell to it, and that Fox was, instead, trying to keep it out of the market. Fox denied the charges.

The two, which were to appear in a Toronto court in early October, settled instead, said ROW founder and prexy Vito Ierello, because he was advised that ROW had very little chance of winning the suit, but every chance of running up a large legal bill.

Fox still does not do business with ROW, and Ierello said he will continue to pursue the matter through the Canadian Competition Bureau.

More recently, ROW sold its retail operations to Mississauga-based CDPlus.com Ltd. for $3.9 million in CDPlus.com shares and warrants late last week.

The acquisition brings the number of CDPlus.com’s locations to 156. The two companies will continue to work together, with ROW providing wholesale music and DVD products to the chain.

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