Cablevision's (NYSE: CVC) big anti-trust showdown with Viacom over program bundling could be headed for a quiet settlement.
According to Reuters, which quotes an anonymous source said to be close to the negotiations, the federal case is on a 45-day hold as both sides hold settlement talks.
Cablevision representative Lisa Anselmo had no comment for FierceCable.
Cablevision first filed its complaint in February 2013 in a Manhattan federal court, alleging that Viacom was "illegally forcing Cablevision to carry and pay for 14 lesser-watched ancillary networks its customers do not want, such as Palladia, MTV Hits and VH1 Classic, in order to carry must-have networks such as Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central."
When Judge Laura Taylor Swain refused Viacom's bid to throw the case out in June 2014, hope sprung in the pay-TV industry that the case could provide valuable legal precedent to combat fast-rising program licensing fees.
Two weeks ago, however, Cablevision agreed to a $17.7 billion takeover bid by European telecom magnet Altice NV, which has pledged to trim $900 million from the MSO's annual budget over the next five years.
As FierceCable reported Tuesday, removing the Dolan family from the company payroll will save around $46 million a year. But Altice could also save money by removing litigation costs from Cablevision's copious docket of ongoing cases, which also include an anti-trust complaint filed by the Game Show Network (GSN), as well as an ongoing dispute with the National Labor Relations Board.
- read this Reuters story
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