Mediacom Headed for Retrans Flap?

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Mediacom Communications hinted in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it could be gearing up for a retransmission-consent fight with broadcast-station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group.

In the Sept. 28 filing, Mediacom said systems that serve about one-half of its 1.4 million subscribers carry local stations owned or operated by Sinclair. The MSO added that in the process of negotiations for a longer retransmission-consent agreement with Sinclair, the broadcaster is “seeking compensation that we believe to be in excess of what is appropriate.”

While Mediacom did not reveal the amount, it said it would not be material to its operational results or financial condition.

The operator added that Sinclair threatened to give it notice, on or before Oct. 15, to terminate retransmission of all of its stations effective Dec. 1.

Mediacom said in the filing that while it has “narrowed the gap” with Sinclair during subsequent negotiations, no agreement has been reached.

"We are pleased with the market response to our recent debt offering, which was upsized from $200 million to $300 million," Mediacom executive vice president and chief financial officer Mark Stephan said in a prepared statement."We are especially gratified that we were able to complete this financing despite Sinclair's apparent efforts to disrupt our transaction by trying to time its termination notice to arrive as the offering was in its final stages," he added. "As in similar situations, most recently with Suddenlink, Sinclair seems to believe it can achieve its goals through the use of strong-arm tactics. Naturally, Mediacom will defend itself and attempt to protect its customers by resisting Sinclair's demands."

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