Charter countersues Fox, says it violated MFN clause


Charter Communications has hit back at 21st Century Fox with a countersuit, alleging the programmer violated most favored nation (MFN) contract clauses in regard to licensing Fox News.

In July, Fox sued Charter, claiming the MSO was misrepresenting its recent purchase of Time Warner Cable and improperly trying to leverage the acquisition’s superior program licensing terms. 

Univision and Showtime filed similar complaints 

RELATED: Fox News is latest programmer to sue Charter for leveraging TWC contracts

In the most recent court papers, obtained by the Hollywood Reporter, Charter said the MFN clauses in its own deal with Fox “provide that if Fox News offers another cable company more favorable terms, including lower rates than those that are provided for in the agreements at issue here, Fox News is then obligated to offer those same rates to TWC or Charter.”

RELATED: Univision threatens to black out Charter following unsuccessful attempt to settle lawsuit

Charter reps didn’t immediately respond to FierceCable’s inquiry for comment.

“Based on publicly available information, and depending upon which agreement is determined to govern the relationship between New Charter and Fox News, defendants believe that they are entitled to such an offer, and thus intend to file a counterclaim asserting a breach of the MFN clause,” the Charter countersuit added. 

On Friday, reps for Spanish-language broadcaster Univision released a statement, threatening Charter with a blackout if a similar impasses isn’t ironed out very soon. 

“In July 2016, Univision had no choice but to initiate litigation against Charter Communications Inc. because Charter had taken the preposterous position that Time Warner Cable—which Charter acquired in May 2016—was actually managing the newly-combined company and that Charter had no obligation to honor contracts that required it to negotiate new carriage deals with Univision,” the broadcaster said in its statement.

“This is a perfect example of how a behemoth cable company like Charter uses its excessive market power to harm content companies and the millions of subscribers who rely on Univision and its suite of networks for vital news and information in language,” Univision added. “Despite Univision’s many attempts to resolve the dispute by offering good-faith settlement solutions, Charter has rejected all of Univision's efforts. Given this unfortunate impasse, Univision has no choice but to inform Charter’s customers that they may lose access to Univision’s networks and stations. Univision is committed to continuing to fight for the dignity and value of our community in the marketplace and the important role we play in providing a voice for Hispanic America during these uncertain times.”