Comcast to Buy Cablevision Stake in Sports Networks

Apr 30, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Comcast agreed to acquire interests in two regional sports networks from Cablevision Systems Corp. for $570 million in cash.

Comcast is getting a 50 percent interest in FSN New England, which will give it 100 percent of the sports network, and a 60 percent interest in FSN Bay Area. An affiliate of News Corp. will continue to own the remaining 40 percent of FSN Bay Area.

For Comcast, the transactions add to its growing regional sports programming operations.

“FSN Bay Area and New England are excellent operating businesses and fit strategically into Comcast’s portfolio of sports networks,” said Jeff Shell, president of Comcast Programming Group. “By growing RSNs in markets where Comcast has existing operations, we have a unique opportunity to reinforce our brand image and capitalize on our local presence.”

The sale of FSN Bay Area and FSN New England allows a divestiture by Cablevision of its only remaining regional sports programming assets located outside of the New York market.

“It’s about time,” said analyst Craig Moffett of Sanford C. Bernstein. In a report he said that Cablevision got a good price for the networks and that the company’s cash flow remains undervalued by the stock market. “The deal could mark an incremental step towards yet another privatization bid,” he said.