A new posting on the court's docket raises the possibility
of a settlement in the case of AMC Network's Voom high-definition programming
service against Dish Network.
In a note, Tom Claps, an analyst with Susquehanna Financial
Group who has been following the case closely, says that "the Court's docket
just posted an entry for Monday, October 22 at 9:30 a.m. -- Pos. Settlement.'"
Claps said the court is not commenting on this new development.
On Wednesday, the trial was postponed till Monday. Judge Richard
Lowe dismissed the jury and said the parties had to deal with a variety of
legal issues that need the court's immediate attention, according to Claps.
Voom, launched by Cablevision's Rainbow programming unit and
now part of AMC Networks, sued EchoStar, now Dish Network, for $2.4 billion
charging that the satellite distributor breached a 15-year contract to carry
the suite of HD channels.
A settlement could include restored carriage for AMC
Networks' cable channels, which have been blacked out on Dish Network since
July. AMC Networks claims that its
channels were pulled by Dish to give it leverage in talks to settle the suit.
"We continue to believe that a settlement in this case is
the most logical outcome for all parties involved. In our view a settlement
would incorporate a new carriage agreement between AMCX and Dish, as well a
cash component to account for potential damages in the VOOM case," Claps said.
News of the possible settlement drove AMC Networks' stock
price higher. AMC was trading at $45.28 cents, up $1.72 or 3.95%.
"We believe a resolution to the case would be a material
positive for AMC Networks (and more modest benefit for Cablevision). So far, we
believe the evidence presented in the case has overwhelmingly supported VOOM's
position, leading us to believe that a settlement could include a generous cash
component as well as restored carriage for AMC's four networks," said Anthony
DiClemente, an analyst at Barclays Capital, in a note Thursday.
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