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Voom Could Be Affected by Unrelated Cablevision Fights

The battle over Voom continues. Amid the internal turmoil currently underway at Cablevision Communications where Chairman Charles Dolan and his son, CEO James Dolan, are duking it out over the future of Voom, its premium HD-SD satellite service, the MSO is involved in at least one other high-profile fight whose ultimate outcome could help determine whether the elder Dolan will have the capital to keep his beloved Voom afloat.

Apart from fighting its own chairman, CVC is currently dealing with at least three other enormous adversaries--New York City, the New York Jets, and, at least indirectly, the U.S. Olympic Committee. The NFL team wants to build a new stadium on the West Side of Manhattan and has bid $720 million for the expensive site. CVC also had made an offer for the same land to block the stadium because the MSO owns the lucrative Madison Square Garden arena and believes a nearby 75,000-seat stadium with an all-weather retractable roof could adversely affect business at the Garden.

The New York state agency that currently owns the West Side site has given its blessing to the Jets. The unanimous decision by the Metropolitan Transit Authority board is widely expected to prompt a lawsuit by CVC. The proposed stadium--if built, destined to perhaps become the most expensive facility of its kind, at a total cost of nearly $2 billion--is the centerpiece of a bid by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to win the rights to the 2012 Olympics.

As for Voom, chief proponent Charles Dolan notified the Securities & Exchange Commission late last week that his CVC Board shakeup is not over. After removing three anti-Voom board members last month and appointing four new members who may be more sympathetic to Voom, Dolan told the SEC he plans to reduce the board from 15 persons to an even dozen. The old board voted several weeks ago to sell off Voom's only working satellite to EchoStar. (HD Notebook, March 2, 9, 16, 30, 2005.)

Also, The Wall Street Journal reports that at the next CVC stockholders' meeting, holders of a special class of "super-voting" stock--of which the elder Dolan owns a majority--would exercise their legal right to elect three-quarters of the board.