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Comcast Shedding Some Systems

Jeff Baumgartner

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), the nation's largest cable MSO, is looking to shave off a few pounds around the edges.

The Philadelphia-based operator, according to The Times Record is trying to sell 46 small and rural cable systems that, combined, serve about 400,000 subscribers in parts of Maine, California, New Mexico, Kentucky, Louisiana, Georgia, West Virginia, and Virginia. The systems believed to be on the block represent less than 2 percent of Comcast's total base of 24.7 million cable subs.

"We don't comment on potential transactions," a Comcast spokesman said.

But based on estimates that those systems could sell in the range of $3,000 to $4,500 per subscriber, those deals could bring in between $1.2 billion and $1.8 billion.

On a more strategic level, the eventual sales will enable Comcast to drop some systems that don't fit as well with its larger, geographic clusters.

The systems Comcast has on the block certainly will attract multiple buyers, but Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is considered a strong candidate for Comcast's Maine systems, as they would complement TWC's already broad presence in the state. But the timing may not be great, considering the serious debt load Time Warner Cable will take on via its separation from Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX). (See Time Warner Cable Leaving the Nest.)

Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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