Last Updated Feb 2, 2010 3:48 PM EST
NAM's motion gives more detail on what, exactly, the two sides have agreed to -- and what NAM believes Valassis is screwing up. According to the motion, in addition to the cash, the agreement:
- Prevents either party from "tying" or "bundling" their services to clients for lower, predatory rates.
- Establishes a three-person panel of antitrust experts to oversee the agreement.
- Creates a distribution deal in which Valassis sells to NAM shared mail services on "specified terms."
Valassis has yet to respond.
What does this all mean? First, it delays NAM's payment to Valassis of $500 million by several days -- if not weeks or months -- while the two sides hash out the meaning of the thing they both thought they were agreed upon.
Second, if the two sides cannot come to terms then the settlement may fall apart completely, potentially putting the parties back on course for a trial. Such a trial would be unlikely to occupy the previous slot allotted to it on the calendar (it was supposed to begin today), because the judge first must decide NAM's new motion.
You've got to hand it to NAM -- if this motion isn't genuine, it's a marvellous delaying tactic. (NAM's corporate parent, News Corp. (NWS) has a motive to delay: The deal wipes out its profits from the movie Avatar.)
If it is genuine, what was Valassis thinking by having its hands tied by the same chains it wants placed on NAM?
This one could run and run.
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