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AriZona Iced Tea buyout feud going to trial

Co-founders of the Woodbury-based maker of AriZona Iced

Co-founders of the Woodbury-based maker of AriZona Iced Tea products, Beverage Marketing USA, are fighting in court over hundreds of millions of dollars. (March 21, 2012) Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

A state judge has denied a request for a $200 million interim payment in the long-running buyout feud between the founders of AriZona Iced Tea, setting the stage for a trial to begin next month.

Soft-drink giants Domenick Vultaggio and John Ferolito have fought for years in both state and federal courts over the breakup of their Woodbury-based corporation, Beverage Marketing USA Inc., and its affiliates. Ferolito wants to sell his 50-percent stake and says the companies are worth upward of $4 billion. Vultaggio, however, says they are worth as little as $400 million.

The various cases have been bundled into a single trial scheduled to begin May 21 in State Supreme Court in Mineola. Ferolito had asked for a $200 million payment from Vultaggio as part of the eventual buyout.

But Judge Timothy Driscoll denied the request, saying it was too difficult to estimate the companies' value and impossible to predict the impact of a $200 million payment on day-to-day operations.

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