Charter Continues Cable System Sell-Off

Mar 22, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Charter Communications, continuing its strategy of selling off geographically unimportant cable systems, said Wednesday it has reached an agreement to sell cable systems serving customers in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah to subsidiaries of Orange Broadband Holding Co.

Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed. Charter said the transaction involves 47,300 basic cable subscribers, 12,300 digital cable customers and 13,400 high-speed Internet users. Proceeds from the sale, which is expected to be completed in the third quarter, will be used to pay down debt.

The sale follows an agreement that Charter reached in February with Cebridge Acquisition Co. and New Wave Communications to sell for $896 million cable systems serving customers in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Illinois.

The sales are part of a broader move by the St. Louis-based cable operator to reduce its debt load, which stood at $19.4 billion at the end of 2005.

In addition to selling cable systems that don’t fit neatly into existing clusters, the company has extended the maturities of certain debt securities and focused on retaining customers by offering bundled packages of video, high-speed Internet and telephony services. To that end, Charter said it would spend up to $250 million this year to roll out telephone service in many of its markets.