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AT&T, Justice Department in Settlement Talks Over Dodgers Channel Lawsuit

AT&T is in settlement talks with the Department of Justice over an antitrust lawsuit brought against DirecTV last year, accusing the satellite provider of colluding with competitors when it came to carriage of a Time Warner Cable-owned Dodgers Channel.

The word of the settlement was reported in a court filing this week, in which AT&T and the DOJ asked the court to delay a hearing until March 27 as “the parties are currently engaged in productive settlement negotiations.”

The Justice Department’s lawsuit, filed in November, alleges that DirecTV shared non-public information with Cox, Charter, and AT&T, strengthening its bargaining position in carriage talks.

Time Warner Cable, which recently merged with Charter Communications and now goes by Spectrum, has exclusive rights to distribute SportsNet LA, the channel that carries Dodgers games. But the company has been unable to sell those rights to DirecTV and other carriers, leaving more than half of Southern California households without access to Dodgers games.

AT&T bought DirecTV in a deal that was completed in 2015. AT&T also has another mega-merger in the works, the proposed acquisition of Time Warner. It is pending before the Justice Department.

A spokesman for AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the proposed settlement would not include an agreement for DirecTV to carry the Dodgers channel.

 

 

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