Copyright 2002 Newsday, Inc.

Newsday (New York, NY)…08/06/2002

From LexisNexis

Is the Securities and Exchange Commission getting ready to lower the boom on the cable industry?

Media industry commentator and consultant Jack Myers reports growing speculation that the SEC may widen its investigation of the cable industry beyond Adelphia Communications.

In his industry newsletter yesterday, Myers cited several sources in the financial and cable communities, but he added that other industry players blame the rumors on short-sellers - investors who bet that a company's stock price will drop. Myers is a former marketing director at CBS, as well as having had stints at ABC and Metromedia in the 1970s.

Cable stocks continued to be hit hard yesterday. Cox Communications Inc. declined $4.83 to $20.19 as its ratings were cut by Credit Suisse First Boston Inc. Comcast Corp., which is acquiring the cable business of AT&T, slid $2.76 to $16.80.

Adelphia founder and chairman John Rigas and two of his sons as well as other executives have been charged with securities fraud over the accounting practices at the cable company.

Myers, citing industry sources, said family-controlled and family-managed cable companies with diverse holdings and complicated deals, such as Cablevision Systems Corp., are among likely SEC targets.

He added, however, that he has found no evidence in financial filings to support potential claims of wrongdoing at Cablevision, which, says chief executive James Dolan, will sign certification of its financial reports, as required by the SEC.