Biz Briefs: Cablevision Still Pursuing Adelphia

Apr 18, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Cablevision Systems as of late last week was continuing to explore the possibility of sweetening its $16.5 billion, all-cash offer currently on the table for Adelphia Communications. The company continues to perform due diligence and is expected to make a decision soon about whether to continue its pursuit of Adelphia.

Adelphia agreed in principle earlier this month to be sold to Comcast Corp. and Time Warner, which submitted a joint $17.6 billion cash and stock offer. Though the Comcast-Time Warner bid has not yet been finalized, analysts last week said they believe Cablevision is a long shot to walk away the winner in the Adelphia race. Part of what makes the deal appear difficult to analysts is the lack of apparent efficiencies in a Cablevision-Adelphia combination. A major reason Time Warner and Comcast’s bid has received Wall Street’s blessing is that both companies own systems near markets where Adelphia does business, which enables Time Warner and Comcast to squeeze out the kinds of synergies achieved with both size and clustering.

Sinclair, DirecTV Extend Agreement

Sinclair Broadcast Group last week said it extended its retransmission agreement with satellite operator DirecTV. Under the agreement, which extends Sinclair’s May 2000 pact, DirecTV will continue to carry the analog signals in markets where DirecTV and Sinclair have a presence, and DirecTV will continue to compensate Sinclair for the carriage of Sinclair’s signals. DirecTV will include Sinclair’s high-definition stations in markets where local-into-local high-definition television service is being offered to subscribers.

Gannett Board OKs $1Bil Buyback

Gannett Co.’s board of directors last week authorized the media company to purchase another $1 billion worth of Gannett stock, building on a $500 million repurchase authorization granted by the board to the company last October.

Verizon, Starz Ink Carriage Pact

Telecommunications giant Verizon Communications last week struck a carriage agreement with Starz Entertainment Group to offer Starz channels on the phone company’s new video service Verizon Fios, which will be rolled out later this year. It is the first carriage agreement Verizon has inked with a premium pay TV provider, Verizon said.

As part of the agreement, Verizon will receive East and West Coast feeds for all 13 Starz movie channels, and Verizon will offer Starz on Demand, featuring more than 100 movies per month. Financial terms were not disclosed.

In December Verizon reached an agreement with Discovery Communications to offer Discovery’s 14 U.S.-based cable networks on the video service.

Both Verizon and SBC Communications are spending billions to introduce a video service that competes with cable operators, which are now offering telephone service in addition to video and high-speed data.

Fellow telco BellSouth is moving toward offering a similar video service but has been less forthcoming with details of its plans.