Centennial Subs On Sale Block

Centennial Communications Corp. hired New York investment banker Morgan Stanley to assist it in evaluating strategic alternatives for its cable properties in Puerto Rico, including a possible sale.

Centennial Cable TV has about 95,000 subscribers in Puerto Rico and is undergoing a digital upgrade, which should be completed by the end of September. In a statement, Centennial said it hired Morgan Stanley in response to inquiries from interested parties.

Centennial — which also provides wireless telecommunications service to 882,600 subscribers in the U.S. and the Caribbean — obtained the Puerto Rico systems in two separate deals. It received 37,000 subscribers from Teleponce in April 2001 for $108 million in cash and 57,000 subscribers from Pegasus Communications Corp. in September 2000 for $170 million.

The former Pegasus systems are in Aguadilla, Mayaguez, San German and surrounding communities in the western part of the island. The ex-Teleponce systems serve areas in and around Ponce in southwestern Puerto Rico.

Adelphia Communications Corp. has been trying to sell about 150,000 subscribers in Puerto Rico for more than a year, leading some observers to speculate that the buyer for the Centennial systems also has it eyes on the Adelphia properties. The Adelphia systems are located around San Juan.

Centennial was once part of Century Communications Corp., which sold its cable operations — including those in San Juan — to Adelphia in 2000.