Biz Briefs

Dec 22, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Cable giant Comcast last week said it expects to generate nearly $2 billion in free cash flow in 2004, driven by a 15 percent to 17 percent jump in cable operating cash flow and $3.3 billion to $3.4 billion in cable expenditure cuts, and said its board of directors has approved a plan to buy up to $1 billion of its outstanding shares.
Freedom Deal Finalized
Freedom Communications last week finalized a deal that will keep ownership of the newspaper and television station group firmly in the hands of members of a faction of the family that founded the company. Shareholders in the Irvine, Calif.-based owner of 27 daily newspapers and eight TV stations overwhelmingly approved the transaction, which involved private equity firms Blackstone Group and Providence Equity Partners raising around $1.1 billion to buy out stakes held by relatives of founder R. C. Hoiles who wanted to sell the company and cash out their stakes.
WWE to Offer Stock Swap
World Wrestling Entertainment will offer to its employees and performers an opportunity to exchange underwater stock options for restricted stock units representing the right to receive shares of the company’s Class A common stock. The offer will be available to participants in the company’s 1999 long-term incentive plan, which provided options to purchase Class A common stock with exercise prices of $17 a share or greater. Stamford, Conn.-based WWE’s shares were trading last week at under $13 a share. The exchange offer expires Jan. 15.
Stations Change Hands
Last week saw a pair of TV station sales, as Clear Channel sold an ABC affiliate in Utica, N.Y., to Mission Broadcasting, and Arlington Capital Partners, a Washington-based private equity firm, signed a definitive agreement to purchase a CBS affiliate in Duluth, Minn., from Chelsey Broadcasting. Financial terms for both transactions were not disclosed. Clear Channel’s deal involves WUTR-TV and Arlington Capital’s deal involves KDLH-TV.