Cablevision Systems, the current owner of the troubled Voom high-definition-centric satellite TV service, and Charles Dolan, the Cablevision chairman trying to buy the remaining assets of the business, waged a fierce battle in the board room and through press over the future of the satellite operation.
The spat between Charles Dolan and his son James, who is Cablevision Systems’ CEO, ultimately led to the replacement of four Cablevision board members, at Charles Dolan’s behest, resulting in Cablevision telling the Securities and Exchange Commission that it would delay the shut down of the Rainbow DBS business unit that controls Voom.
Cablevision said it would now allow Voom HD, LLC, a private company formed by Charles Dolan to buy the Rainbow DBS unit that controls Voom, another opportunity to present a transaction for the remaining assets and liabilities of Rainbow DBS. Dolan is expected to report to the board by March 7, Cablevision said.
The latest battle arose Feb. 28, when Cablevision issued a statement saying that it had ended discussions with Voom HD, LLC, without reaching an agreement to acquire Rainbow DBS.
“The previously announced letter of intent between Cablevision and Voom HD to pursue such a transaction expired today,” Cablevision said. “As a result, Cablevision will close down the Voom business.”
Hours later, Voom HD LLC fired off a statement saying it “is prepared to finance the continued expansion of the Voom satellite service.
“We believe our offer to Cablevision is in the best interests of Cablevision’s shareholders and Voom’s 46,000 subscribers across the nation. If we are able to complete negotiations with Cablevision, we are certain that Voom HD will emerge as a robust new vendor providing a valuable alternative to the two services that now dominate the satellite industry,” read a Voom LLC statement.
A day later Charles Dolan, who controls a majority of a special class of stock with super voting rights, replaced one retired board member and three Cablevision directors who voted against him to close Voom. In their place Dolan named Rand Araskog, former ITT Corp. CEO; Frank Biondi, Jr., former Viacom CEO; John Malone, Liberty Media chairman; and Leonard Tow, former Century Communications CEO.