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In the media: Cablevision seeking bids on former Bresnan systems

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 2:47pm
Mike Robuck

According to a published report, the clock is ticking on bids for the former Bresnan Communications systems, with Charter Communications expected to make an offer to Cablevision in the first round of bidding.

Bloomberg News cited an unnamed source in a story yesterday that said Charter was among the prospective bidders for the Bresnan systems, which Cablevision renamed Optimum West. A spokeswoman for Charter said the company doesn’t comment on rumor or speculation.

Cablevision also hired Bank of America and Guggenheim Securities as advisers, according to another source. Last month, published reports said Cablevision was working with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup on the prospective sale of Optimum West.

In the company’s third-quarter earnings call last month, Cablevision CEO Jim Dolan acknowledged that Cablevision was exploring the sale of the former Bresnan systems after receiving “unsolicited interest” from prospective buyers. At the time, Bloomberg reported that Suddenlink Communications was also among the potential suitors. Suddenlink was one of the previous bidders for Bresnan before Cablevision emerged as the winner with a bid of $1.37 billion two years ago.

Charter’s interest in Optimum West isn’t surprising given that current Charter CEO Tom Rutledge was in charge of the Bresnan systems prior to leaving his COO post at Cablevision a year ago.

Bresnan was formed in 2003 by cable pioneer Bill 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.

There’s been a wave of acquisitions in the cable ranks this year, with WideOpenWest buying Knology and Cogeco buying Atlantic Broadband, along with the WaveDivision Holdings and Suddenlink deals.

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