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In the media: Cablevision ponders selling Bresnan subsidiary

Mon, 10/15/2012 - 2:50pm
Mike Robuck

According to several media reports, Cablevision is exploring its options in regard to selling its Bresnan Broadband Holdings division after purchasing the systems just two years ago.

Both The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reported that Cablevision is in preliminary discussions to sell off the Bresnan systems out West, but to date, no investment banks have been engaged to advise on a potential deal.

After the passing of Bresnan Communications founder Bill Bresnan, Cablevision paid $1.37 billion to Providence Equity Partners near the end of 2010 for Bresnan.

Bresnan serves customers in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana, with a large hub in Montana serving as the focal point of its operations. Former Cablevision chief operating officer Tom Rutledge was in charge of the new Bresnan subsidiary at the time of the purchase, but he has since moved on to the CEO and president positions at Charter Communications.

Bloomberg mentioned Charter as one of the possible suitors for Bresnan, along with Time Warner Cable and Suddenlink Communications. Time Warner Cable wrapped up its purchase of Insight Communications earlier this year, and its executives have said it isn’t interested in additional purchases.

Suddenlink was one of the previous bidders for Bresnan before Cablevision emerged as the winner.

Bresnan was formed in 2003 by cable pioneer Bresnan, who passed away in 2009. At the time of the Cablevision purchase, Bresnan served more than 320,000 basic subscribers in largely rural areas in Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.

Cablevision’s New York City metro area footprint is contiguous, while Bresnan’s is spread out among rural communities out West.

Cablevision has added more HD to its Bresnan lineup but has yet to launch DOCSIS 3.0 across all of the former Bresnan systems. Prior to its purchase, a Bresnan engineer said DOCSIS 3.0 was close to launching.

Cablevision has been battling Verizon’s FiOS service across most of its footprint and may want to focus its efforts there instead of out West.

Cablevision did not respond to an inquiry about the possible sale by deadline this morning, but a spokesman told Bloomberg that the company didn’t comment on rumors or speculation.

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