Dolan family wins ruling in squabble over Cablevision compensation

A Delaware court has ruled that Dolan family members had no say in Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) boardroom decisions that collectively netted them more than $100 million in executive pay.

A group of investors had complained that Chairman Charles Dolan and other Dolan family members have been excessively compensated by company directors. According to Bloomberg, however, Delaware Chancery Court Judge John Noble ruled that the company's independent directors made the decisions on compensation and had no input from the Dolan family.

Aside from Cablevision, the Dolan family--including Cablevision CEO James Dolan and COO Kristin Dolan--also controls the Madison Square Garden Co., the NBA's New York Knicks and the NHL's New York Rangers. According to FierceCable's ranking of the highest-paid executives in pay-TV, James Dolan came in fourth in 2014, netting $23.7 million.

"The Dolan family has operated the company and created extraordinary shareholder value since founding Cablevision more than 40 years ago, and we are gratified the court rejected the plaintiff's lawsuit," Lisa Anselmo, a spokeswoman for Bethpage, New York-based Cablevision, said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg.

The investor scrutiny comes as Cablevision stock has spiked 35 percent in the weeks following the collapse of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. The uptick in share value has been attributed to possible M&A activity involving Cablevision.

Analysts, however, have said Cablevision's future is cloudy because the company's cable operations significantly overlap with Verizon's FiOS (NYSE: VZ) service area. Specifically, Cablevision's overlap with FiOS could soon rise to 70 percent of the New York/New Jersey-area footprint. That situation creates significant competition for Cablevision, and could scare off investors and potential merger partners.

For more:
- read this Bloomberg story

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