The already delayed trial of Televisa’s lawsuit to try to cut short its long-term deal giving Univision exclusive US television rights to its programming will not begin next month after all. The new trial date is January 6th.
Televisa’s lawsuit originally charged that Univision had underpaid royalties for its programs by some $100 million, but was later expanded to claim that the actions by Univision amounted to a contract breach and the programming deal should be voided long before its scheduled expiration in December 2017.
Televisa CEO Emilio Azcárraga Jean wants desperately to gain control over distribution of his Mexican company’s programming in the US. He was not happy as a minority partner when Jerry Perenchio controlled Univision and became even more angry when his equity team was outbid to cash out Perenchio and the public shareholders to take Univision private.
If Televisa can succeed in getting a court to cancel the programming contract, Azcárraga Jean would be free to launch his own, new network in the US. The FCC’s ownership rules would likely not be a problem for acquiring O&O stations. His wife and children are US citizens and there has been talk of him becoming one also, a la Rupert Murdoch.
Despite the animosity, there have been indications of talks going on behind the scenes to bring this to an amicable conclusion.