Insight Still Weighing Options

Insight Communications Co. Inc. is still mulling a range of "strategic alternatives" that could transpire after the MSO polishes off a deal that will split up control of some Midwestern U.S. systems with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK).

In May, Insight said it hired Morgan Stanley and Waller Capital Corp. to advise it on those options, which could result in a sale, or an expansion fueled by acquisitions of its own. (See Is Insight on the Block? .)

"That review has not been completed yet, and we deem it inappropriate at this point to comment," Insight CEO Michael Willner said today during the company's second quarter earnings call. (See Insight Revenues Rise.).

He had little more to say about the system deal, which will give Comcast direct control of systems that pass about 1.2 million homes and serve 684,000 basic video subs. Insight, which went private in late 2005, will still control systems passing about 1.3 million homes in parts of Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, when that deal is sewn up. (See Comcast, Insight Divvy Up Midwest.).

That transaction "is proceeding as planned," Willner said, noting that it should be completed by December.

Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has already confirmed it is interested in bidding for what will remain of Insight, as many of those systems fit strategically with Time Warner's. (See Time Warner Seeking Insight .)

Among Insight's earnings-call tidbits was the fact that it added 18,900 high-speed Internet customers in the quarter, roughly the amount it added in last year's second quarter.

That was in stark contrast to most large cable and telco service operators, which reported declines in second-quarter net sub growth, due in part to higher than normal "seasonality." While some analysts think this means U.S. broadband growth is slowing down, others believe a big rebound may be in store for the third quarter. (See Report: Broadband to Rebound in Q3.)

Although Insight historically loses at least 14,000 student customers in the second quarter, the MSO lost only 3,000 basic subs, a record low for the period, according to company president and COO Dinni Jain. By comparison, the basic customer net loss was 4,300 in the second quarter last year.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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