Crown: NICC Put Right Is Kaput

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Crown Media Holdings, parent of Hallmark Channel, claims that one of its investors has negotiated away its put right for 4.4 million shares of the company’s stock, according to a securities filing Thursday.

The National Interfaith Cable Coalition on Monday notified Crown Media that planned to exercise its put option, which expired Nov. 1.

But Crown Media, in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, claims that “as a result of recent negotiations, we have a binding agreement with NICC which negates the put right, itemizes remaining financial obligations under the prior agreement with NICC and handles related matters.”

According to Crown Media, “Crown views the attempt by NICC to exercise the put as a breach of that agreement.”

In early October, Crown Media CEO Henry Schleiff said that his company was trying to reach a deal regarding the put option

NICC has programming agreements with Hallmark Channel that are set to expire at the end of the year.

The NICC can either put its shares to Crown, costing the company about $29 million, or retain the stock and sell it on the open market.