Ziff says lawsuit is "without merit"

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Ziff-Davis, which was named in a $200 million lawsuit filed by the founders of Softbank Interactive Marketing, for which its parent Softbank Holdings was majority owner, said April 21 the suit is "without merit," according to Malcolm Morris, senior-VP and general counsel of Ziff-Davis.

The suit was filed April 17 in New York Supreme Court by Andrew Batkin, former chairman of SIM; Lawrence Howorth, former executive VP-chief financial officer; Edward West, former executive VP-business development; and Robert Colvin, former senior VP-client acquisition.

Also named in the lawsuit is Softbank Holdings; Ziff-Davis Chairman and CEO Eric Hippeau; Jeffrey Ballowe, former president of marketing and development of Ziff-Davis' Interactive Media divisions; and Masayoshi Son, president and majority shareholder of Softbank Corp.

The former SIM executives seek to recover funds they claim are owed to them for compensation and lost business opportunities resulting from "fraudulent, conflict-ridden and irresponsible actions" of the defendants, according to the lawsuit.

Copyright April 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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