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More on Cablevision’s purchase of Bresnan

Tue, 06/15/2010 - 9:17am
Mike Robuck

To add a few more details to yesterday’s story, Comcast’s 30 percent stake was part of the $1.365 billion deal between Providence Equity Partners Inc. and Cablevision, which will lead to Bresnan being an unrestricted subsidiary of Cablevision once the deal passes regulatory muster near the end of this year or early next year.

Comcast sold off the systems to Providence in 2003 for $525 million and in return received common and preferred stocks, along with the 30 percent stake.

Among the initial reactions yesterday, which included questioning the price that Cablevision was paying for Bresnan, some wondered why Cablevision would want to leave the comfy confines of its contiguous New York metropolitan footprint for the wide-open spaces out west in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah.

But Bresnan currently makes its headquarters in Purchase, N.Y., so it really won’t matter much that Cablevision will be commuting from its headquarters in Bethpage, N.Y. Cablevision may not get the economies of scale that it currently enjoys, but it’s getting a pretty solid cable operation from Bresnan, which, one assumes, Cablevision is only going to improve.

Bresnan’s 320,000 subscribers are a drop in the bucket when compared to Cablevision’s 3 million plus, but Cablevision President and CEO Jim Dolan believes the Bresnan purchase will build shareholder value while offering the parent company some tax benefits.

Lastly, no mention was made of what will happen to Bresnan’s 1,300 employees in the four Western states, as well as the 55 employees in Bresnan’s Purchase headquarters.

Bresnan vice president of public affairs Shawn Beqaj said this morning that the company’s employees were its greatest value, but he wouldn’t comment on whether they’ll be retained by Cablevision.

Five years ago, Bresnan opened an $8 million regional operation center in Billings, which is also the location of its master headend.

No doubt Cablevision will still need the bulk of the field techs and other employees across the four states, but it remains to be seen whether Bresnan’s engineers will be a part of the new subsidiary. A spokeswoman for Cablevision said it was premature to discuss the future of the Bresnan employees.

As a Bresnan customer in Colorado, I can personally attest to the admirable job the company has done in fixing up the network and offering better services, as well as meaningful customer service support over the phone.


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