Mediacom Starts Stock-Buyback Program

Middletown, N.Y.-Mediacom Communications Corp. became the latest cable operator to take advantage of slipping stock prices by initiating a stock-buyback program, approving a plan to repurchase up to $50 million of its class-A common stock.

Mediacom, which went public in February, has seen its shares decline 157 percent from its initial-public-offering price of $19 per share. Cable stocks in general have slid about 30 percent since the beginning of the year.

"Given the recent declines in stock prices for the cable industry, including our company, the board of directors wanted to be in a position to buy back our stock opportunistically," Mediacom chairman Rocco Commisso said in a prepared statement. "We believe our stock is exceptionally undervalued at current market prices, and the repurchase program is a very appropriate plan of action to increase shareholder value."

Mediacom is the second cable operator to initiate a buyback program in the past month.

Cox Communications Inc. announced a $500 million buyback program last month, and Comcast Corp., which initiated its $500 million buyback program in 1998, repurchased $125 million of its shares in March.

Mediacom said it would repurchase shares as necessary from time to time on the open market.