Comcast accuses DirecTV, AT&T of holding back info in CSN Houston takeover

Nothing in the short life of troubled regional sports network CSN Houston has come easy, and that trend is continuing in the transfer of ownership in federal bankruptcy court.

With a critical hearing scheduled for Thursday, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has accused AT&T (NYSE: T) and DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) of holding back information in their quest to acquire the struggling RSN.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Comcast wants access to internal analysis and communications--including emails--from AT&T and DirecTV as part of their proposed purchase of CSN Houston.

Comcast's CSN Houston partners--local pro teams the Houston Rockets and Astros--have approved the purchase. But Comcast is only getting $16 million to $23 million back on a $100 million secured loan given to the joint venture as start-up capital in 2012. Comcast wants to know if everyone else is getting a sweetheart deal except for unpopular Philadelphia-based cable companies.   

"The proposed plan provides the teams with what appears to be billions of dollars in future revenue--raising the question of whether the teams are being overpaid for their media rights in exchange for granting (DirecTV and AT&T) the opportunity to pay virtually nothing for the equity in the network" Comcast's attorneys state in a brief to the court.

Much like Time Warner Cable's SportsNet LA, CSN Houston was never able to achieve a critical mass of carriage because the No. 2 operator in the market, DirecTV, never signed on.

For more information:
- read this Houston Chronicle story

Related links:
DirecTV set to take over Houston RSN it refused to carry
Comcast cites 'total gridlock' at CSN Houston in bankruptcy filing
Dish offers to distribute carriage-starved CSN Houston a la carte

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