Cablevision Road Show?
Pali Capital analyst Richard Greenfield said Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge and CFO Michael Huseby are among those who will make the rounds next week. "We view this as a clear sign that the Dolan family is seriously interested in some form of buyback/dividend and/or spin-off/sale of non-core assets," Greenfield wrote in a research note.
If so, it demonstrates that Cablevision would like to move quickly. Just after the MSO reported a solid second quarter, Cablevision announced its board had sanctioned a plan to "explore several strategies" aimed at "bringing the market value of the company's common stock more closely in line with the underlying operating performance of the company." (See Cablevision Spinning Options .)
Cablevision noted that quarterly dividends and stock buybacks are among options it will seek "as promptly as possible."
The company has not been as clear yet regarding which properties it's considering spinning off. Outside of its core cable and business communications services arm, Cablevision also: owns Madison Square Garden; operates New York's Radio City Music Hall, the Beacon Theatre, and the Chicago Theatre; owns and operates Clearview Cinemas; operates a stable of programming at Rainbow Media Holdings; owns the New York Knicks basketball team, the New York Liberty women's basketball club, and ice hockey team The New York Rangers; and recently acquired Newsday Media Group. (See Cablevision Closes Deal.)
However, the cable operator is not expected to make another attempt to go private again. (See Cablevision Shareholders Reject Dolan Bid.)
Cablevision declined to comment about the reported plan to meet with top investors next week, but if those senior executives do head out to meet leading investors, it would mark a rare occurrence.
"Cablevision has continually declined to meet with investors and analysts since the Dolan family began its go-private attempts a couple of years ago," Greenfield wrote, hopeful that the MSO might involve his firm in those meetings should Cablevision opt to "include a broader audience."
Meanwhile, investor Mario Gabelli reportedly wants Cablevision to take even bigger steps, proposing that the MSO break up the company and finally merge its cable operations with Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), New York City's other major incumbent cable operator.
Gabelli, who fought Cablevision's latest attempt to take the company private, will be with Rutledge and Huseby, along with Cablevision CEO James Dolan, when they make the rounds with investors next week, according to Multichannel News.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News