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Dolan and others file against EchoStar sale


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#1 OFFLINE   JohnH

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 04:16 PM

Dolan Takes VOOM Battle to FCC

Cablevision Chairman Charles Dolan, who wants to take over the VOOM satellite TV service from the company, sent a petition to the Federal Communications Commission earlier this week asking the agency to deny EchoStar's proposed $200 million acquisition of certain VOOM assets.

The joint petition was submitted by VOOM HD LLC, the entity Dolan set up to take over VOOM, and The Association of Consumers to Preserve and Promote DBS Competition. The FCC docket said the filing was submitted on behalf of Dolan, who has been at odds with the company concerning the future of VOOM.

The filing said VOOM HD is in the process of obtaining financial commitments from its controlling investors amounting to $400 million in cash and credit, and it stands "ready, willing, and able to compete for the purchase of the Rainbow DBS transponders located at 61.5 degrees should they once again become available in the market."

As for the EchoStar/Cablevision deal, the petition said the proposed transaction would conflict with an FCC policy of fostering competition and the new entry of DBS service providers. The filing also took aim at EchoStar's proposed acquisition of 11 additional transponders at the DBS orbital slot, and asked whether the deal would serve the public interest.

"By eliminating one of only three facilities-based providers of DBS service to U.S. consumers, the proposed transaction would result in the loss of the highly unique DBS service VOOM offers to its approximately 40,000 subscribers," the petition said. "The proposed transaction thus indisputably conflicts with the agency's stated policy of promoting competition in the DBS marketplace."

In January, EchoStar and Cablevision entered into an agreement in which the cable operator agreed to sell a satellite and other DBS-related assets to EchoStar for $200 million. In a statement released late Tuesday, EchoStar said: "We're perplexed that a member of the Cablevision board of directors would now file an objection after the remainder of the board had already voted to sell the Rainbow satellite. Nonetheless, we remain committed to completing the deal and using the spectrum to help us compete in a growing pay TV marketplace."

Following the EchoStar/Cablevision deal, Dolan established VOOM HD LLC to take over any remaining assets of the struggling satellite TV service. Dolan also pressured Cablevision to stop its plans to shut down VOOM at the end of the month.

http://www.skyreport.com (Used with permission)

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#2 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 05:24 PM

I found it VERY interesting that C Dolan, a part of Cablevision, would file a petition when the sales agreement specifically said Cablevision would work WITH Echostar to get the licenses transferred.

I have barely seen the "Voom HD LLC" filing, but it contains a lot of customer comments (not to mention over 300 comments filed directly on the proceeding).

JL

#3 OFFLINE   BobMurdoch

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 05:24 PM

It may be moot by the time the FCC rules on this 2-5 months down the road. The important issue is what happens on April 1st. Does Cablevision pull the plug, or does charlie have $100 Million burning a hole in his pocket to keep it running a few more months?
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#4 OFFLINE   BobMurdoch

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 05:25 PM

Is there a link for the customer comments to the FCC?
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#5 OFFLINE   rocatman

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 07:41 PM

Here is a link to most of the comments:

http://gullfoss2.fcc...roceeding=05-72

Here is a link to the Voom LLC/Charles Dolan comments:

http://gullfoss2.fcc...ment=6517501031


The comments by Voom LLC/Charles Dolan are a breach of the contract between Echostar and Cablevision for the Rainbow-1 satellite etc. since Dolan is still an officer of Cablevision. It would not suprise me if Echostar sues Cablevision. Cablevision could also sue Charles Dolan. Cablevision stockholders could also sue Cablevision. The SEC could also get involved here because what Charles Dolan is trying to do is spinoff Voom from Cablevision in a round about way. Remember the SEC would not approve the spinoff attempts of Rainbow DBS from Cablevision.

One of the items I found ironic in the Voom LLC filing was that Charles Dolan was cited as an expert in the cable/satellite provider field but it was under his leadership that Voom has failed financially and yes Charles Dolan has been running Voom not James Dolan. Perhaps this is a last ditch attempt by Charles Dolan to save Voom.

#6 OFFLINE   Phil T

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 09:59 PM

It kind of reminds me of when Rupert backed out of his Echostar deal in 1997. Charlie will probably end up with all of VOOM!

#7 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 12:32 AM

It kind of reminds me of when Rupert backed out of his Echostar deal in 1997. Charlie will probably end up with all of VOOM!

Probably.

But unlike Voom HD LLC, Charlie will buy the assets and possibly the programming and do it at the lowest price he can - but NOT buy the debts.

The AMC-6 leases are interesting, but if Voom fails those leases die before the end of the year and E* can lease the space directly if desired.
The 166 and 175 orbital locations will fall back to the FCC. E* wouldn't mind having those for Asian coverage, but the US is covered well enough from their other 135 transponders.
The Voom21 channels would be a good bargain - but would need repackaging.
The non Voom HD channels can be had directly from the providers anyways.
40k Voom customers? No big deal. E* can top that in a good week or two.
What else does Voom/RainbowDBS have that is worth buying? ka build contracts? That's about it.

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#8 OFFLINE   stonecold

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 07:18 AM

It is simply the most importnat thing is for Voom to die.

#9 OFFLINE   speedy882001

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 08:15 AM

Here is a link to most of the comments:

http://gullfoss2.fcc...roceeding=05-72

Here is a link to the Voom LLC/Charles Dolan comments:

http://gullfoss2.fcc...ment=6517501031


The comments by Voom LLC/Charles Dolan are a breach of the contract between Echostar and Cablevision for the Rainbow-1 satellite etc. since Dolan is still an officer of Cablevision. It would not suprise me if Echostar sues Cablevision. Cablevision could also sue Charles Dolan. Cablevision stockholders could also sue Cablevision. The SEC could also get involved here because what Charles Dolan is trying to do is spinoff Voom from Cablevision in a round about way. Remember the SEC would not approve the spinoff attempts of Rainbow DBS from Cablevision.

One of the items I found ironic in the Voom LLC filing was that Charles Dolan was cited as an expert in the cable/satellite provider field but it was under his leadership that Voom has failed financially and yes Charles Dolan has been running Voom not James Dolan. Perhaps this is a last ditch attempt by Charles Dolan to save Voom.



Sue..sue...sue...its off to court we go!

#10 OFFLINE   lazaruspup

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 10:50 AM

It is simply the most importnat thing is for Voom to die.


That's right, the most important thing is to eliminate more competition, though small it might be, grant the BUM(big ugly monster) that DISH is a right to more space that they'll pollute with channels no one watches. LOL. I really hope Voom does survive, simply for the fact that programming model and service they provide is great, they just lack the message and a way to reach the customer. Charles wouldn't do this if he didn't have a plan of attack. I think we are on the way to seeing Cablevision get sold to fund other ventures and a big shake up to him with the Voom/Cablevision/Echostar saga.
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#11 OFFLINE   stonecold

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 12:57 PM

I sue Dolan for robbing me of 70 some odd dollars every month for this mostly upconverted crap they call voom.


So I say die voom die.

#12 OFFLINE   lazaruspup

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 01:33 PM

I sue Dolan for robbing me of 70 some odd dollars every month for this mostly upconverted crap they call voom.


So I say die voom die.


If you signed up, you are not being robbed of anything. One should know if they did their research that there is not much native HD out there, so I would much rather upconverted HD than no HD at all. My dvd player upconverts to 1080i and it is beautiful, but it is still upconverted. I would rather have that than just plain 480p. So yes, you may be paying for upconverted content, but you should have known that from the beginning. Btw, lawsuits cost more than $70. :D
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#13 OFFLINE   Mike500

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 04:53 PM

I'm sure that Charlie will argue that the extra transponder capacity would help Dish comply with the one dish for all locals mandate. So, if the FCC kills his deal to acquire the Voom satellite assets, he will foot drag and blame it on their denial for his deal.

#14 OFFLINE   Paul Secic

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 05:23 PM

I sue Dolan for robbing me of 70 some odd dollars every month for this mostly upconverted crap they call voom.


So I say die voom die.

Voom is toast. Dolan is more of an a** than Charlie from what I gather from you gentlemen.

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#15 OFFLINE   lazaruspup

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 05:28 PM

Voom is toast. Dolan is more of an a** than Charlie from what I gather.


I don't think you can call a guy an ass for trying to fight for what he believes in. He thinks the future is honestly in the satellite business and would risk the business he built, Cablevision, to see it succeed. What Charlie does is based on greed and selfishness. Is is selfish or greedy to spend millions of dollars to guarantee customers quality service for another 30 days. I don't think Charlie would do that. You be the judge.
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#16 OFFLINE   KingLoop

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 06:03 PM

I don't think it's about trying to do something positive, for Dolan. I think like all capitalists he's trying to succeed, for himself and his interests. I don't think he has any more integrity than anyone else from what I've seen. If he was such a great guy he'd abide by his contractual obligations and help E* acquire the various Voom assets like were promised. I think Charlie Ergan runs a better company than Charles Dolan. But that's just me.
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#17 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 06:20 PM

Here is a link to most of the comments:

http://gullfoss2.fcc...roceeding=05-72

Here is a link to the Voom LLC/Charles Dolan comments:

http://gullfoss2.fcc...ment=6517501031

I appreciate your posting of the links.

It is notable that at least one of the comments was in favor of the sale. The fact that most of them made reference to the specifics of the satellite (its name and orbital location) lead me to believe that these comments were probably solicited as opposed to offered.

I like the idea of competition, but I also feel that it must come from a organization that has more than just good ideas in its portfolio. Given what we have heard of the monthly operating expenses (hemorrhaging), it doesn't make sense to turn over the keys to someone who claims to have only a few months worth of funding (based on the 2004 losses of an average of $21 million per month.

Another question is where Voom HD stands with respect to the new (to Voom anyway) technology required to be competitive: DVR and MPEG4 design and deployment. I curious about how much of this technology might be part of the Echostar deal or otherwise retained by Cablevision.

#18 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 07:01 PM

I really hope Voom does survive, simply for the fact that programming model and service they provide is great, they just lack the message and a way to reach the customer. Charles wouldn't do this if he didn't have a plan of attack.


I am not, repeat not, a Voom basher... and I believe competition is good for all of us... but the above just didn't make sense to me.

If the folks running Voom had a plan... where has it been the last couple of years? And how are they not reaching the customer? I see their commercials all the time on TV, including those 30-minute paid spots.

Like it or not, Voom simply must not be offering what most people want at the price people are willing to pay... or more people would have jumped.

I looked into Voom myself... but I'd end up paying more than I pay Dish and for only a few more HD channels that I'd actually watch and would miss a whole bunch of SD channels that they just don't have yet.

#19 OFFLINE   lazaruspup

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 12:20 PM

If he was such a great guy he'd abide by his contractual obligations and help E* acquire the various Voom assets like were promised. I think Charlie Ergan runs a better company than Charles Dolan. But that's just me.


Not siding with anyone here as I don't have DISH currently or Voom, but I believe that if we knew the whole story it would be clearer as to why Charles is acting the way he is. We don't know how the board voted for the sale of the satellite, nor do we know who opposed the sale. Surely, if Charles wanted to save Voom, he would not have been in favor of the sale of its ultimate asset. So I don't think it has anything to do with his integrity as to whether he should help the sale or not. He could stomp his feet and pout all he wants and its no one's business but the shareholders. I honestly feel that Charlie's company lacks integrity due to the fact that DISH backs out of promises and deals all the time. (921, Dishwire, Superdish) So integrity here is not the issue, its the fact that we are witnessing one of the great corporate battles that the American economy is so great for hosting. :D
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#20 OFFLINE   KingLoop

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 03:17 PM

...I honestly feel that Charlie's company lacks integrity...

While I do agree that Charlie and E* do need some more integrity, I think that E*'s technology, while often flawwed, is the most affordable, programming and equipment wise, in the industry. I think that D* has alot to offer as well; But as far as Voom is concerned, I think their programming is lacking and over-priced, and in my opinion they have never been, nor ever will be competitive enough to shore up a sizable customer base.
KL




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