Comcast to bid for Houston sports network if court forces sale

Tue Oct 1, 2013 7:58am EDT
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By Tom Hals

(Reuters) - Comcast Corp is prepared to bid if it can force a sale of the financially troubled, regional-sports network that carries the games of the Houston Astros baseball team and the Houston Rockets, the city's basketball team, court papers show.

Affiliates of Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, on Friday filed for involuntary bankruptcy against Houston Regional Sports Network LP, and said in court papers the network should be put up for sale for the benefit of creditors.

Comcast "believes the network's assets have meaningful value, and would be prepared to make a bid to acquire either the network (under a plan of reorganization) or substantially all of its assets," the media conglomerate said in court documents.

Comcast also said that it wanted the court to appoint a trustee to replace the network's management, which is at a "complete impasse," according to court documents.

The network's three-member board consists of representatives of Comcast, the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association and the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball, according to documents filed by a Comcast affiliate.

The network has been locked in a dispute with cable and satellite television providers over how much it should receive per subscriber, which has limited the network's reach.

Comcast, which loaned the network $100 million through an affiliate, also said it was prepared to provide the financing necessary to keep the network operating until the bankruptcy could be resolved.

The Astros called the filing "improper," although the team had not been paid its media rights fees by the network for the last three months, according to a Friday press release.   Continued...