Univision Sues Charter Over Post-Merger Rates

Univision said it filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Charter Communications claiming that rather than negotiate a new carriage agreement, Charter is attempting to impose rates and other terms of Univision’s agreement with Time Warner Cable, which was acquired by Charter.

In papers filed at the Supreme Court in New York, Univision also claims that in government filings and public statements that Charter would be the continuing business after the merger and that Charter is acting in bad faith by enforcing Time Warner agreements in Charter cable systems.

Univision’s carriage agreement with Charter expired June 30. At the time of the merger in May, Time Warner Cable was larger than Charter and received more favorable terms from programmers such as Univision.

In a statement, Univision says Charter “has outright refused to negotiate a renewal agreement with Univision.”

It says that “Charter insists that the contract Univision had with Time Warner Cable is controlling, rather than its own contract with Univision. Charter bases this argument on the preposterous theory that as a result of the merger, Time Warner Cable, rather than Charter, is managing all these cable systems. But everyone knows that is not true: the longstanding CEO and the executive team of Charter, as well as its pre-existing board of directors, now manage and control all of the cable systems. Indeed, 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.”

In response to the suit, Charter said in a statement: “We have a long-term contract with Univision and we expect them to honor it.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.