The Department of Justice has called on representatives of Big3 Basketball — the pickup league co-founded by rapper Ice Cube — to a meeting over accusations of dirty tricks by cable giant Charter Communications, The Post has learned.
The meeting, to be held with the DOJ’s antitrust team on Wednesday, is tied to Big3’s recent claims that Charter has been trying to throw an auction over 21 regional sports channels to its largest shareholder, Liberty Media.
Big3 made the claims to the DOJ’s antitrust division on April 10, saying Charter was trying “to pollute the bidding process” for the regional sports networks by “preemptively threatening” to stop carrying the networks, which broadcast local sporting events, if they come under new ownership.
Big3’s letter said Charter conspired with Liberty Media — run by John Malone, the owner of the Atlanta Braves — to block Big3 as “a diverse and inclusive competitor” — and to lower the price Liberty might have to pay for the package of channels, which are said to be worth roughly $10 billion.
The meeting was arranged Tuesday, the same day Ice Cube posted on Twitter: “We’re still in the game. Now it’s time to win it for the culture.”
Final bids for the RSNs, which are being sold by Disney to win antitrust approval for its $71.3 billion merger with Fox, were due Monday.
Liberty teamed up with Major League Baseball, according to Bloomberg. Also in the running is Sinclair Broadcast, which is in talks with private equity firm Apollo Global Management about providing much of the debt financing it needs, sources said.
The conservative broadcaster has structured its bid to buy the Fox RSNs like a leveraged buyout, where it puts down equity equal to about 25 percent of the purchase price and borrows the rest, sources said.
“I feel like Sinclair Broadcast will be the winner,” a source close to the bidding process said.
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