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Charter bids $73 M for waffling HSA

Tue, 07/31/2001 - 8:00pm
Anne Kerven

Charter Communications Inc. made a $73 million cash pitch for certain High Speed Access Corp. assets, but HSA isn't sure yet what it wants to do. HSA had just announced a 26 percent jump in subscribers since March and in May, an open access agreement with Time Warner Cable. An FTC comment period on the deal ended yesterday.

Charter's offer covers the contracts and associated assets put in place by HSA to serve Charter's customers, including contracted services and service agreements. Charter says that includes the call center and network operations center in Louisville, Ky., and all HSA-owned equipment in Charter headends and customer homes.

Under the deal, HSA's Series D preferred stock owned by Charter and its affiliate, Vulcan Ventures Inc., would be cancelled. Likewise, Charter's management has resigned from HSA's board.

HSA now says it is debating shutting down its remaining businesses and distributing the proceeds to shareholders, or restructuring and expanding those remainders. It also says at this point, it can't determine whether the proposal's net value, combined with remaining assets and liabilities, equals or exceeds its stock value.

"There can be no assurance that the company will agree upon or consummate a transaction with Charter or with any other party," it says in a statement.

HSA's board has been considering a "broad range of strategic options," including selling the company or its assets; an acquisition, merger, consolidation or "other business combination"; a joint venture or partnership with financial or industry partner; or a public or private sale of debt or equity securities, it says.

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