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Represented by a team at O' Melveny & Myers which includes Daniel Petrocelli (recently tapped by AT&T to defend that Time Warner merger, in case the government sues to block it), the studio retorts, "Under the parties' agreements, Kripke granted WBTV absolute discretion and control over how and whether to distribute and exploit the Series, including by authorizing WBTV to license the show to an affiliated company." Warners knocks at in its arbitration demand letter and says Kripke has gotten the benefit of the bargain with millions of dollars in fixed fees.
The studio says the reduction in license fees was necessary.
It's something that Warners probably didn't expect.AT&T executives insist this would make no business sense, that receiving money for content is the name of the game and that antitrust history prevents government officials blocking a merger between a supplier and a distributor.But virtually ignored is how this deal will impact those who create, write, star and direct in popular entertainment.Nessim's concerns have now impacted how he's handling the case.After Warners submitted its demand for arbitration, the parties began volleying letters to each other and to a case manager at JAMS.
In an important speech Thursday before the American Bar Association, the Justice Department's antitrust chief Makan Delrahim addressed vertical mergers.