TVBizwire

$1.6 Billion Deal: Cablevision Sells Cable Systems Serving More Than 300,000 Subs in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah to Charter Communications TVWeek

"Charter Communications ...will acquire Cablevision's ...Optimum West [cable systems] for $1.625 billion in cash," the companies have announced.

"Optimum West manages cable operating systems in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah that pass more than 660,000 homes and serve 304,000 video subscribers and 366,000 customer relationships," according to the announcement.

The announcement continued, " 'With this transaction, Charter will acquire some of the fastest growing cable assets in the United States,' said Tom Rutledge, Charter's President and CEO. 'These former Bresnan properties operate in growing communities, and the network, employees and customer base have been well served for many years. In particular, over the past two years Cablevision, as Optimum West, has grown video, Internet and telephone customers through the execution of a product and service strategy, which is the same as the one we recently implemented at Charter. Optimum West is an ideal fit for Charter and we anticipate an efficient integration process.' "

Rutledge came to Charter a year ago. Prior to that, from 2004 through December, 2011, he was the chief operating officer at Cablevision.

James Dolan, president and CEO of Cablevision said in the announcement, "We are proud of the value we created in the Optimum West properties. We made strategic investments in the cable system and significantly enhanced the network to provide our customers with more robust products and services. I am confident that our Optimum West team will continue to build on that success under new stewardship."

The announcement added, "The $1.625 billion acquisition price represents a purchase price multiple of 8.9x Optimum West's third quarter 2012 annualized Adjusted EBITDA1 and a purchase price multiple of less than 8.0x Charter's estimate of Optimum West's first year Adjusted EBITDA under Charter. The transaction will be structured to deliver to Charter a full step-up in the tax basis of the acquired assets. Taking into account Charter's estimate of the present value of this tax asset, the effective purchase price multiple is less than 7.0x the estimated first year Adjusted EBITDA. 'Given the double digit growth profile of Optimum West, we view the implied purchase price multiple as attractive. In addition, the acquisition will increase our conversion rate of Adjusted EBITDA to free cash flow.1 At closing, we expect to be at 5.0x leverage and continue to target 4.0x to 4.5x over time,' noted Christopher Winfrey, Charter's CFO."