January 6, 2018 / 2:15 AM / a year ago

Starz tells Altice to stop 'false' statements in carriage fight

Patrick Drahi (2nd R), founder and controlling shareholder of the the telecommunications group Altice watches as Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei (C) rings a ceremonial bell to mark the IPO of the company on the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

(Reuters) - The Starz cable network on Friday said it demanded that distributor Altice USA Inc stop making what Starz called false statements after the two sides failed to reach a contract renewal.

Starz, which is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment, said in a statement that Altice was advising its customers that Starz did not engage in extension discussions with Altice and pulled its signal from the cable company on Jan. 1.

“This is patently false,” Starz said it wrote in a cease-and-desist letter to Altice. Starz said Altice “unilaterally pulled down the Starz signal,” without providing any notice, in the midst of active negotiations.

Altice spokeswoman Lisa Anselmo said the contents of the Starz letter “are completely false and without merit.”

The pay TV distributor announced on Monday it would no longer carry Starz’ channels to its 3.4 million Optimum and SuddenLink TV customers, after the two failed to reach an agreement on pricing.

Altice has advised customers to sign up for the premium cable network’s $8.99 online video service if they want to continue watching its programming.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru and Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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