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In the media: Knology ponders sale

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 1:55pm
Mike Robuck

Knology is testing the waters on a possible sale that could attract interest from private-equity firms.

Yesterday's story by The Wall Street Journal, which cited unidentified sources, drove Knology's shares to a 52-week high during trading. The company's shares peaked at $19.34 a share yesterday before closing at $17.47. Knology's shares were at $17.58 late this morning.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Knology, which serves business and residential customers in Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Tennessee, hired a financial advisor over the past few weeks. While the potential sale will likely focus on private-equity firms, there's no guarantee that a deal will be made.

At $17.47 a share, Knology has a market capitalization of around $659 million, but it also carries roughly $700 million in debt. Based on those numbers, the value of the deal could be roughly $1.5 billion, according to the Journal.

Time Warner Cable paid $3 billion for its purchase of Insight Communications. That deal closed today.

Two years ago Cablevision System emerged as the winning bidder for Bresnan Communications by paying $1.365 billion. http://www.cedmagazine.com/news/2010/12/cablevision-wraps-up-purchase-of-bresnan

A Knology spokesman didn't comment on the possible sale.

In its recent year-end earning report, Knology said it had 800,000 total subscribers and $518.6 million in revenue.

Bloomberg reported last month that Wave Broadband, which offers triple play services in Washington, Oregon and California, was also still in play.

According to the Journal, a private-equity company could buy Wave Broadband as well for about $1 billion.

In 2009, Knology paid $165 million for Kansas-based Sunflower Broadband.

Last month, West Point, Ga.-based Knology was rumored to be acquiring 1,000 video subscribers from the city of Springfield, Fla. as part of its "edge out" strategy.

Last year Knology purchased some former Charter Communications systems from Cobridge Communications, and then subsequently sold a few of them in Alabama off to Troy Cable for $30 million.

During Knology's third-quarter earnings report last year, Knology president Todd Holt said the company was looking for additional edge out opportunities.

Knology initially targeted $100 million for its edge out projects. After the $25 million earmarked last year was finished, the company had invested about $46 million of the initial $100 million.

Knology has largely completed the roll out of DOCSIS 3.0 wideband services across its footprint, as well as added more HD channels in some of its systems.

Knology previously said it would deploy some digital terminal adapters (DTAs) last year before rolling them out more broadly this year.

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