Photo: Mad Men, AMC
On Thursday, a note on the New York State Supreme Court’s website stated that there may be a “possible settlement” in AMC and Cablevision’s $2.4 billion breach of contract suit against the Dish Network — which could potentially restore AMC Networks’ channels on Dish’s system.”Voom HD, a former Cablevision unit, sued Dish in 2008, saying the satellite television distributor violated a 15-year deal to carry HD programming and should pay $2.4 billion in damages,” reports Reuters. “The trial has been unfolding in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan since Sept. 28.”
On Thursday, the court posted a docket entry dated Oct. 22 that said “9:30 AM Poss. Settlement” indicating that New York Supreme Court Judge Richard B. Lowe III would address a possible settlement when the trial reconvenes Monday.
But a few hours later the court changed the entry to remove the mention of a settlement and a person who answered the phone at the judge’s chambers on Thursday said the possible settlement filing was a “mistake,” reports Reuters.
Thursday’s mysterious e-entry comes after Dish’s secret emails came to light in the courtroom earlier this week — “the most damaging evidence to date,” according to one advisor monitoring the case.
But the news of a possible settlement has been good for some.
“Shares of AMC, a Cablevision subsidiary that now houses the Voom assets, closed up nearly 4 per cent at $45.27 on Thursday,” reports Reuters. “Analysts have said a settlement could restore AMC Networks’ channels on Dish’s system and restore the 13 per cent of AMC’s subscribers that were lost after Dish blacked out AMC in July.”
But if the media companies do settle, it could be huge.
“In the context of the $2.4 billion in damages originally sought, we believe a cash settlement could be worth between $200 million and $1 billion…equating to $1-$4 per share in aftertax cash consideration for AMC,” Barclays Equity Research’s Anthony DiClemente tells Deadline.
He adds, though, that “the amount of a potential cash consideration is less important than the value of a new carriage deal.” Meaning without Dish’s 14.1M subscribers, AMC could lose as much as $100M per year in cash flow, reports Deadline. “Assuming a seven year deal, we estimate carriage would be worth $7 per share for AMC.”
- New emails hurst Dish ‘in a big way’ in battle against AMC >
- A history of Dish & AMC’s cable war >
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