It's time to grab a fork: The opportunity for additional profits from Cablevision
The Dolans, whose own internecine squabbling has become the stuff of legend, currently own 22.5% of Cablevision stock, but control a difficult-to-contest 74% of its voting power. At the time of their latest offer, the per-share price represented a less-than-staggering 13% premium over the $23.93 closing level in the prior trading session.
The family's first offer, rendered in 2005, was more complicated, involving $21 a share in cash for the approximately three million New York City-area cable subscribers and an approximately $12.50 public market offering price for the company's other assets, which include the Rainbow Media programming arm, Madison Square Garden, and the New York Knicks basketball team. The unwieldiness of the first offer was likely its undoing, and it ultimately was rescinded.
From the perspective of public ownership, the cable industry in recent years has become a steadily shrinking group. Gone in the past few years are Cox Communications, whose controlling family, like the Dolans, decided they could manage their company more effectively if it were a private entity. Also missing is Adelphia Communications, which was victimized by financial shenanigans by its own founding Rigas clan. Adelphia's assets ultimately were divvied up by two remaining major cable players, Comcast
Now, as we head into a new week, there are those who maintain that $27, or about $3,000 per cable subscriber, is a paltry sum for Cablevision. But I believe that the likelihood of a significantly higher price is slim, at best.
I won't maintain that it's impossible for the Cablevision buyout price to be nudged higher, but I do think it's unlikely that the company will remain for long among the dwindling ranks of publicly held cable operators. And given Friday's $26.94 closing price, along with the odds against any meaningful sweetening of the latest tender, you might want to consider taking your Cablevision proceeds and applying them elsewhere.
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Fool contributor David Lee Smith spends very little time facing his TV. He holds no financial position in any companies mentioned above.