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AMC Channels Back on Dish as Voom Suit Settles

AMC Networks and Cablevision Systems said Sunday they settled their suit with Dish Network and that AMC's networks are returning to the satellite carriers' subscribers.

Dish is paying $700 million in cash to Cablevision and AMC to resolve the case, which revolved around carriage of Voom, a high-definition programming service created by Cablevision's Rainbow programming arm. AMC claimed Dish breached its distribution contract by ending carriage of Voom. 

Dish, then part of Echostar, owned a 20% stake in Voom, but is giving that up and will retain none of the $700 million settlement.

Dish has entered in to a long-term distribution agreement with AMC Networks to carry AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel and WE TV. Those channels have been off Dish since the summer. Dish is also restoring Fuse, owned by The Madison Square Garden Co., and controlled by the Dolan family that also owns Cablevision.

"We are glad to have settled the case and reestablished our long-term relationships with AMC Networks and Cablevision," Dave Shull, senior VP of programming at Dish, said in a statement. "This multi-year deal delivers a fair value for both parties and includes digital expansion opportunities for AMC Networks' programming."

Dish said that as part of the agreement, Dish will receive 500 MHz of wireless multichannel video distribution and data service spectrum licenses that cover a population of 150 million in 45 DMAs including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

"We are glad to partner again with Dish Network and are delighted to bring back our popular channels and programming to their customers," Josh Sapan, president and CEO of AMC Networks, said in a statement.

After payment of the cash settlement is received, the parties will file a joint stipulation to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice, Cablevision said. The allocation of the settlement proceeds between Cablevision and AMC Networks will be determined pursuant to the existing agreement relating to this litigation between the two companies.

AMC stock rose late last week amid speculation a settlement of the $2.4 billion lawsuit was imminent. 

AMC executives contended that Dish had removed AMC's networks as leverage to try to force a more favorable settlement. While Dish maintained that it dropped the channel because of subscriber disinterest, analysts expected carriage of the channels to be linked to any settlement.

In court, Dish lost a series of rulings, leading to expectation that AMC was in position to either win the trial or get a favorable settlement.