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Contracts Entertainment and Sports Law Litigation

When Boilerplate, Customized Clauses Collide in Media Merger Deals

Some contract provisions will necessarily be customized for use in the particular agreement, while others will be boilerplate. But the intersection of those provisions in a merger agreement involving the acquisition of Cablevision Systems Corp led to a serious dispute— and cautionary tale for the merger-laden entertainment and media industries — about interpretation of the agreement, requiring a Delaware court to determine the impact of potentially conflicting language.

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All agreements rely on a mix of provisions to achieve the contracting parties’ objectives. Some of these provisions will necessarily be customized for use in the particular agreement, while others will be boilerplate-stock, uncustomized language usually reserved for more routine aspects of the contract, such as integration and construction clauses and disclaimers of third-party beneficiaries. But the intersection of those provisions in a merger agreement involving the acquisition of Cablevision Systems Corp., one of the largest U.S.-based cable operators, led to a serious dispute — and cautionary tale for the merger-laden entertainment and media industries — about interpretation of the agreement, requiring a Delaware court to determine the impact of potentially conflicting language.

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