Judge grants Charter temporary restraining order in ad fight

Bankrupt cableco Charter Communications has chalked up one in the win column after a U.S. District judge ordered DirecTV Group to stop running-at least temporarily-ads that claimed the struggling cable provider couldn't keep up with competitors' technology or offer new programming and HD channels because of its rocky financial straits.

Charter had claimed the ads were "false and misleading," while the satellite TV operator had maintained it was simply telling customers that Charter's March bankruptcy filing could be disruptive to subscribers.

Charter had filed the suit Monday saying the DirecTV ad campaign was targeted at Charter's current and prospective customers and was "designed to create a false impression that Charter's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing will adversely affect Charter's customers."

A DirecTV spokesman said the company will be allowed to run ads if they are modified. "We are still able to point to the fact that Charter is in bankruptcy and the outcome is uncertain," he said. DirecTV has run several anti-cable ads, many of which have ended up on YouTube.

Charter filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization March 27, seeking to reduce its debt by $8 billion and raise $3 billion in capital and debt financing. It has yet to make a profit since going public in 1999. It has about 5.5 million customers.

Fore more:
- See this BusinessWeek story
- See this LA Business Journal article

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