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AT&T Sued By Herring Networks Over DirecTV Carriage

Herring Networks, which owns the One America News Network and A Wealth of Entertainment, claims in a lawsuit that AT&T reneged on a promise to carry the channels on DirecTV in return for Herring’s support of the AT&T-DirecTV Merger.

Herring’s lawsuit, which seeks at least $100 million, was filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Herring also claims that AT&T decided to “wind down” U-verse, which carries the Herring channels, and acquire DirecTV. Herring claims that when it entered into an agreement with AT&T in 2014 to carry its channels on U-verse, AT&T led Herring execs to believe that U-verse “would continue to expand and grow.”

A spokesman for AT&T said: “The lawsuit is baseless. We have offered to carry both channels on DirecTV at reasonable, market-based terms. This lawsuit is simply a ploy by Herring to negotiate a slanted deal.”

Herring’s lawsuit claims that during the negotiations with AT&T in early 2014, there was a standard clause that would require that AT&T put Herring’s channels on any system that AT&T acquired. “AT&T inserted new language that negated” the clause, the lawsuit claims, excusing any obligation AT&T had to carry the Herring networks on a newly acquired system like AT&T. Herring contends that it would not have signed the carriage agreement had it known of AT&T’s plans to acquire DirecTV.

The lawsuit claims that AT&T is “aggressively soliciting U-verse subscribers to move to DirecTV,” and has told U-verse customers that “the networks or channels they have on U-verse will be available on DirecTV. But Herring’s networks are not on DirecTV.”

The lawsuit contends that later in 2014, after the AT&T-DirecTV merger was announced, AT&T’s president, Aaron Slator, gave assurances to Herring president Charles Herring that DirecTV would carry the channels if Herring backed the merger. But Herring claims that after the merger was completed, the company reneged.

Herring is represented by Skip Miller of Miller Barondess.

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