first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error At the time, DirecTV was accused of colluding with Charter Communications, Cox Communications and AT&T. Since then, the landscape changed – AT&T purchased DirecTV and Charter bought Time Warner Cable, which had been hired by the Dodgers to operate and distribute the channel when it launched in 2014.The government suit was seen as a surprising move but a possible opening to the stalemate in a process that has taken several nasty public turns. It also appeared to be leveraging AT&T as it was trying to get government approval in a separate $85 billion takeover of Time Warner Inc. (not related to TWC).AT&T filed a motion in January to dismiss the suit, contending it had been negotiating in good faith and had reached the conclusion, as did others, that the monthly subscription price for the channel (in the $5 range) was too high.Under the agreement reached Thursday, AT&T said it would monitor executive communications with competitors and implement a compliance program. The company was not otherwise fined or punished.“We are pleased to have resolved this matter to the satisfaction of all parties,” said an AT&T emailed response. The U.S. Department of Justice filed court papers Thursday that show a settlement was reached with AT&T and DirecTV in a collusion lawsuit that dealt with antitrust allegations related to the distribution of the Dodgers’ SportsNet LA.But nowhere in this agreement does it require the channel be carried by any competitive satellite or cable company that has been holding out.The Dodgers’ fourth season without full local distribution of SportsNet LA will continue, to the chagrin of the team and the channel’s primary operator, Charter Communication.The attorney general filed the complaint last November against DirecTV Group Holdings LLC and AT&T, calling DirecTV a “ringleader” in illegally sharing information with three rivals that “corrupted” the SportsNet LA carriage negotiations “and the competitive process that the Sherman Act protects.”center_img Brent Snyder, the acting assistant attorney general in the DOJ’s antitrust division, said in a statement that the settlement “promotes competition among pay-television providers and prevents AT&T and DirecTV from engaging in illegal conduct that thwarts the competitive process.”Neither the Dodgers nor Charter Communications responded on the record with an immediate comment.DirecTV has been viewed as the linchpin in having other cable and dish companies pick up SportsNet LA, but as long as it continues to resist adding it to its menu, competing companies are not as concerned about losing customers who could switch to DirecTV.Some of the evidence that the DOJ provided was then-DirecTV CEO Mike White saying publicly in 2014 that it was important for “distributors to stand together, like most of us have been doing in Los Angeles … with the Dodgers on outrageous increases and excesses.” White left the company after the merger with AT&T.last_img

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