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Insight Splits Midwest with Comcast

Comcast and Insight Communications made it official Monday, agreeing to split their 50-50 Insight Midwest partnership in half, with 684,000 subscribers transferring to the Comcast fold.

The split,

first reported by Multichannel News last Thursday

, has been in the works for months. According to the deal announced officially Monday, Comcast will receive 684,000 customers in Illinois (Rockford/Dixon, Quincy/Macomb, Springfield, Peoria and Champaign/Urbana) and Indiana (Bloomington, Anderson, and Lafayette/Kokomo). Insight will retain 639,000 customers in Kentucky (Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green and Covington); Evansville, Ind.; and Columbus, Ohio.
“We have worked closely with Comcast to arrive at this agreement, which both parties agree is a fair and equitable one,” Insight CEO Michael Willner said in a prepared statement. “This is a logical split for both companies. Comcast already has significant properties in Indiana and Illinois, so it makes sense for them to assume control over the systems in these states.
Insight will operate a very efficient cluster in Kentucky, where it will continue to be the largest operator in the state, and in neighboring southern Indiana and in Columbus, Ohio.”
The two companies will also split the partnership’s debt basically down the middle, with Comcast assuming $1.335 billion of debt and Insight assuming $1.260 billion. Closing is expected by the end of the year.Comcast has owned 50% of Insight Midwest -- a partnership that controls all of Insight’s 1.3 million customers -- since 2002, when it acquired AT&T Broadband.
Comcast said two years ago that it wanted to unwind the partnership to simplify its own structure. It gained the right to trigger a dissolution Dec. 31, 2005.
Insight, which

went private in a $720 million deal in 2005

, has apparently been negotiating with Comcast since January. But according to cable executives familiar with those negotiations, the talks began to heat up recently.