Univision asked the New York Supreme Court today to sort out a contract dispute with Charter Communications. The Spanish language broadcaster wants the cable company to pay carriage rates it negotiated, while Charter wants a lower rate paid by Time Warner Cable — which it acquired in May.
“Univision had no alternative because Charter has outright refused to negotiate a renewal agreement with Univision,” the broadcaster says.
Charter responds that it has “a long-term contract with Univision and we expect them to honor it.”
Univision’s suit says that a 2014 carriage deal with Charter was due to expire on June 30 and contained “a heavily-negotiated provision concerning corporate acquisitions that governs the precise situation here.”
It said that the rates of an acquired company would stay in place until the end of the calendar year. At that point, the rates Charter had negotiated would apply to all of its customers. TWC was larger than Charter before they combined, which apparently enabled it to secure lower rates.
Now Charter “implausibly asserts that through June 2022, the prior TWC agreement not only governs the Legacy TWC Systems, but also grants it the right to distribute Univision’s programming on the Legacy Charter Systems over the same period,” the suit says.
It seems that Charter maintains that “a ‘Time Warner Company’ actually ‘manages’ New Charter’s cable systems ‘with respect to programming matters’,” according to the filing.
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In a statement, Univision calls the position “preposterous.” It adds: “Charter pitched this deal to regulators, its subscribers, and the public, as one where its management team would take control of the combined company, and that is exactly what happened. Quite simply, Charter promised one thing publicly in order to secure approval for its acquisition and is now privately claiming the exact opposite to Univision.”
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