Optical/IP Networks

Cablevision Sets Shareholder Vote

Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) has set Wednesday, Oct. 24, as the date shareholders will vote on a plan to take the MSO private, according to a proxy the company filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) .

Cablevision said the vote will take place at 11 a.m. Eastern time at a meeting to be held at its Bethpage, N.Y., headquarters.

Cablevision announced in May that an independent committee had given the Dolan family the go-ahead to take the New York-based MSO private. The present deal is for $36.26 per share. The family had been spurned by earlier privatization offers, including a $27 per share offer in October 2006 and $30 per share in January 2007. (See Cablevision Keeps Family Ties .)

The MSO hopes to complete the deal by year's end, according to the proxy.

A summer surge in Cablevision's stock, which peaked at $38.52 on July 18, raised speculation that shareholders might be reluctant to vote in favor of the Dolan's privatization plan, or that the family might have to sweeten its bid yet once again. At the time, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. senior analyst Craig Moffett also suggested that Cablevision shares could be worth at least twice the current offering price. (See Stock Spike Threatens Cablevision Deal.)

"Today's filing – indicating that the financing remains in place and the Dolans remain committed buyers – is clearly welcome news," Moffett wrote in a research note issued Thursday.

A vote in favor of the deal is not a slam dunk, but the chances of that happening appear to have increased.

"As [Cablevision's] stock has declined, and as prevailing multiples for the cable sector overall have contracted, the likelihood that shareholders will vote in favor of the Dolan offer has undoubtedly risen, in our view," Moffett added.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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