Adelphia: Joint Time Warner-Comcast Bid OK

Adelphia Communications Corp. will allow Time Warner Inc. and Comcast Corp. to make a joint bid for the company, sources confirmed Monday.

Adelphia had been mulling whether to block a joint bid from the two MSOs in an effort to keep prices up.

According to sources familiar with the auction process, both Time Warner and Comcast have signed confidentiality agreements with Adelphia, with the provision that they could make a joint bid for all or part of the company.

TheWall Street Journal first reported in its Monday online edition that Adelphia had allowed the two companies to make a joint bid.

Adelphia’s board had discussed the notion of blocking joint bids for the properties in a regularly scheduled two-day meeting earlier this month. However, the board hadn’t made a decision either way. With the signing of the confidentiality agreements, that point is moot.

More than 50 interested parties have signed confidentiality agreements in the Adelphia auction. The properties, with about 5.2 million subscribers, are expected to attract $17 billion-$20 billion.

Time Warner and Comcast are considered to be the front-runners for the Adelphia properties in what could be a long auction process. Adelphia expects preliminary bids for the properties -- which have been split into seven separate clusters -- by the end of this month. Final bids should come in during December, with the final decision being made in early 2005.