Court Blocks Adelphia-Verizon Calif. Deal


A Los Angeles federal court judge has temporarily blocked the acquisition of
Verizon Communications' Ventura County, Calif., cable property by Adelphia
Communications Corp.

The restraining order was issued March 29 by Judge Audrey Collins in U.S.
District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles.

It is a victory for the city of Thousand Oaks, Calif., which wants to prevent
Adelphia from buying its competitor.

The order apparently does not include Verizon properties elsewhere, such as
Pinellas, Fla.

The California order compels Verizon to continue offering cable service,
according to the terms of its Ventura County contract, or observe the clause in
the contract that requires the company to turn its plant over to the city if it
no longer intends to sell cable service.

Verizon is also enjoined from firing its employees, some of whom were to lose
their jobs March 30, sources said.

Any funds that have changed hands between the telecommunications companies
must be segregated in a separate trust account until the dispute is

Adelphia sued the city in federal court March 21, alleging that attempts to
block the sale violated its First Amendment rights.

The city filed its own suit in state court March 26 to uphold the franchise
terms. Adelphia got the city's suit removed to federal court, leading to the
March 29 injunction in the city's favor.

Cable attorneys will argue against a permanent injunction on the acquisition
April 12.