EchoStar Communications Corp. spokesman Marc Lumpkin confirmed Wednesday
that the direct-broadcast satellite company filed suit June 25 against TV Azteca
for breach of contract.
Lumpkin would not disclose details of the suit, saying that the terms were
under seal by the courts.
In a research report issued Wednesday, UBS Warburg LLC analyst Aryeh Bourkoff
said EchoStar charged TV Azteca with violating an exclusivity clause in its
multiyear contract to carry the network's Mexican-based programming on its 'Dish
Latino' DBS lineup.
Earlier this year, DBS rival -- and possible merger partner -- DirecTV Inc.
began offering a Los Angeles-based broadcast affiliate of TV Azteca spinoff
Azteca America. The feeds are not identical, but the U.S.-based TV stations
carry much of the same programming TV Azteca produces in Mexico.
In a statement from TV
Azteca's Web site, the company said Azteca America has asked distribution
partner Pappas and its affiliates to 'withdraw their must-carry election for
satellite transmission of Azteca America programming on DirecTV in order to
avoid a possible conflict with EchoStar, but Pappas has not as yet complied with
this request. The parties are actively pursuing resolution of these issues.'