Labatt Suffers Another Legal Defeat In Battle Against Molson Coors
It will be “tough for Labatt Breweries to appeal its latest defeat in a court fight against archrival Molson Coors and the NHL, meaning the largest sponsorship deal in league history will all but surely be going ahead,” according to Josh Rubin of the TORONTO STAR. Ontario Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Morawetz late yesterday “released his written reasons … for ruling against Labatt’s claim the NHL shouldn’t have been allowed to sign a $375-million North American sponsorship deal with Molson-Coors.” Labatt had claimed “it already had a three-year deal for Canadian rights.” Morawetz wrote that Labatt “didn’t have a deal, and that the NHL hadn’t extended Labatt’s exclusive negotiated window beyond Oct. 22.” The statement read in part, “Labatt fell victim to its own reluctance to unequivocally commit itself to an enforceable contractual arrangement. The NHL twice extended the exclusive negotiated period. … Both extensions were provided in writing. … It is also clear that no further requests for extension to the exclusive negotiating period were made by Labatt, and none were offered by the NHL. The mere fact that the parties continued to negotiate beyond Oct. 22, 2010, does not, in my view, reflect an ongoing legal obligation to do so” (TORONTO STAR, 10/25).