Charter Still Trying to Sell Nonstrategic Systems

Charter Communications Inc. will continue its efforts to sell off nonstrategic assets in order to pay down debt, including trading larger systems for smaller ones that fit better into its footprint, one top executive told attendees at an industry conference Thursday.

The MSO has sold about 250,000 subscribers in nonstrategic markets over the past year, raising about $835 million. But the company has had less luck selling off another 250,000 subscribers it had earmarked for sale at around the same time.

Interim co-chief financial officer Derek Chang, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Media & Communications conference in Washington, D.C., said Charter continues to seek buyers for the properties, which he would not identify.

“We would continue to like to rationalize our portfolio,” he said. “We’re not the best-clustered company, and if you can get better clusters, the value increases for all of us.”

Chang added that Charter would also consider trading larger systems for those that fit better into its 6.1 million-subscriber footprint.

“You may see us go down in size a little bit as we go down that path, but ultimately, we will end up with a more cohesive set of assets,” he said.

Chang added that Charter’s difficulty in selling off the rest of its nonstrategic systems may have to do with the upcoming auction for Adelphia Communications Corp.

“Adelphia has been a subject for the industry over the past couple of years,” he said. “It probably has held up some of the trade activity.”