Light Reading

Cablevision Considers Bresnan Offers

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Welcome to the broadband and cable news roundup, Hump Day edition.

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) has received "unsolicited interest" in the former Bresnan Communications cable systems in the Midwestern U.S. that the MSO bought in 2010 for US$1.36 billion, Cablevision President and CEO Jim Dolan said Wednesday on the company's third-quarter earnings call, an acknowledgement that comes about three weeks after The Wall Street Journal reported it. "While it has not been our intention to divest this valuable asset, based on the approaches that we have received, we've decided to explore a potential transaction," Dolan added. Those systems, now referred to as Optimum West, serve about 360,000 subs in pockets of Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. Charter Communications Inc. , an MSO now led by former Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge, is among the parties rumored to be interested in buying those systems. (See Cablevision Might Sell Country, Stay Rock 'n' Roll and Cablevision Goes Country With Bresnan Buy.)

  • On the financial end, Cablevision posted a third-quarter loss of $3.8 million (1 cent per share) on revenues of $1.69 billion. Cablevision lost 9,600 video subs in the quarter, about half of what it lost in the year-ago period, but gained 28,000 high-speed Internet customers and 22,000 voice subs.

  • Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) Chairman Charlie Ergen is speculating again … about his own company. On the company's third-quarter call Wednesday, Ergen said a merger between Dish and rival satellite TV company DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) would be a "doable deal under the current circumstances," but said no such discussions were underway, reports Multichannel News. Regulators denied an attempted DirecTV-Dish/EchoStar merger in 2002. Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. analyst Craig Moffett suggested in a research note that Dish's recent struggles would grease the skids. "Dish's weak results in the core business are in fact a selling point to regulators for a merger with a much stronger DirecTV," Moffett wrote.

  • Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is pitching free Xbox gaming consoles to new triple-play subscribers in a Holiday subscriber acquisition campaign being run in tandem with Best Buy. TW Cable is also throwing in free DVR service for one year (minus the equipment fee) and five premium movie channels (HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Showtime and The Movie Channel). The MSO, which lost 140,000 residential video subs in the third quarter, is running the promo through Jan. 5, 2013. (See TW Cable Misses Q3 Targets .)

  • The Cable Center revealed its 2013 Hall of Fame class, which will be inducted at next year's The Cable Show, set for June 10-12 in Washington, D.C.:

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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