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Adelphia Parts Ways With Partner Tele-Media

Adelphia Communications Corp. is taking operational control of about 144,000 subscribers in five states that were part of a joint venture with Tele-Media Corp.

Adelphia said last week it'll take day-to-day operations of systems in Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia from Tele-Media, with which Adelphia has had business partnerships since 1994.

The properties are in Seymour and Waterbury, Conn.; Frostburg and Hancock, Md.; Augusta Shanks, Springfield and Keyser, W.Va.; Petersburg and Hopewell-Prince George, Va.; and Wynmoor, Pembroke Pines, Miramar and Centura Parc, Fla.

Adelphia already owned a majority stake in the systems; Tele-Media's management contract to run them recently expired.

Adelphia also said it wanted to provide additional products and services there.

Adelphia said the rebuild schedule in those systems would likely be accelerated, but gave no specifics. Adelphia plans to have 95% of its systems upgraded to 750 Megahertz, two-way capacity by mid-2004.

Adelphia has been aggressively rebuilding of late: about 75% of its systems were at 750 MHz, two-way capacity at the beginning of the year.

"We wish to commend Tele-Media and its employees on the job they have done running these systems, but by bringing these systems under our direct management, we can improve operating performance, technology and marketing while adding scale and realizing cost savings at the same time," Adelphia president and COO Ron Cooper said in a statement.

The transition should be completed early next year. The systems will still bear the Tele-Media brand, and "nearly all" 290 Tele-Media employees at the systems will be retained, but some managers are likely to be let go when Adelphia folds the systems into its own regional structure.

Pleasant Gap, Pa.-based Tele-Media got started in 1971, founded by chairman and CEO Robert Tudek and vice-chairman Everett Mundy, according to the corporate Web site. Tele-Media has about 90,000 subscribers outside the Adelphia partnership.

A map on the corporate site indicates systems in North Carolina (six systems), Kentucky (eight), Pennsylvania (two) and Tennessee (one).

Adelphia bought into the Tele-Media partnership in 1994, according to past securities filings.

Originally, Adelphia bought into Tele-Media parent TMC Holdings' Western Connecticut systems, with 43,000 subscribers, paying about $34 million.

Later that year, it bought interests in Tele-Media systems in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., with 7,000 customers (which were folded into its New England cluster) for $11.8 million.

In November 1994, Adelphia had signed a letter of intent to increase its investment in Tele-Media and its related entities by $63 million to $75 million. Adelphia terminated that letter of intent in June 1995.