Univision Sues Charter for Cherry-Picking Licensing Fees After Time Warner Cable Merger

Spanish-language broadcaster says large cabler wants to use TWC’s existing Univision contract instead of negotiating a Charter renewal

Last Updated: July 8, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

Univision filed a lawsuit against Charter Communications on Friday, accusing the company that recently absorbed Time Warner Cable of using the wrong licensing fee agreement to its advantage.

The Spanish-language broadcaster claims that the new-look Charter is insisting on using TWC’s existing fee agreement with Univision, and not Charter’s. New Charter allegedly won’t negotiate its own renewal agreement with Univision, the network said.

That’s quite a convenient stance considering Charter bought Time Warner Cable, and not the other way around, Univision explained.

“Today, Univision filed a lawsuit against Charter Communications, Inc., which just acquired Time Warner Cable and became the second largest cable company in the United States,” the broadcaster began in a side statement obtained by TheWrap. “Univision had no alternative because Charter has outright refused to negotiate a renewal agreement with Univision. Charter insists that the contract Univision had with Time Warner Cable is controlling, rather than its own contract with Univision.”

“Charter bases this argument on the preposterous theory that as a result of the merger, Time Warner Cable, rather than Charter, is managing all these cable systems,” Univision continued. “But everyone knows that is not true: the longstanding CEO and the executive team of Charter, as well as its pre-existing board of directors, now manage and control all of the cable systems. Indeed, Charter pitched this deal to regulators, its subscribers, and the public, as one where its management team would take control of the combined company, and that is exactly what happened.”

“Quite simply, Charter promised one thing publicly in order to secure approval for its acquisition and is now privately claiming the exact opposite to Univision,” the statement concluded.

Univision is asking for damages due to the purported breach of contract, as well as a legal determination that new Charter is not a Time Warner Cable company, and thus this particular existing retransmission fee deal should not apply.

“We have a long-term contract with Univision and we expect them to honor it,” a Charter spokesperson said, confirming that the cable giant was referring to the TWC contract specifically.