Optimum West Bidding Enters Second Round

The auction for the former Bresnan Communications Systems has entered the second round with at least three strategic bidders still in the running, according to published reports and  sources in the cable financial community.

 Sources confirmed that the auction for Optimum West has entered the second round and that  a decision as to an ultimate winner won’t be made for at least until January or February. Among the bidders are Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications and Suddenlink Communications, according to sources and a report last week in Bloomberg News.

Cablevision Systems purchased the former Bresnan systems in 2010 for $1.4 billion, renaming the properties Optimum West.  The systems have about 300,000 subscribers in Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. Cablevision began  shopping the systems  earlier this year and has said that it has received high interest from several potential suitors.

Time Warner Cable has about 12 million customers across the country and  acquired Insight Communications earlier in the year for about $3 billion. Suddenlink, the seventh largest cable operator in the country with about 1.4 million customers, was recently acquired by BC Partners, CPPIB and management in a deal that valued the MSO at about $6.6 billion. In an interview shortly after the deal was announced Suddenlink CEO Jerry Kent said the added capital from the deal could be used for acquisitions.

Charter CEO Tom Rutledge also has ties to the former Bresnan Systems – he was chief operating officer of  Cablevision when the Bethpage, N.Y.-based MSO acquired the systems in 2010. In an interview with CNBC in December, Rutledge said the assets could be a good fit with the St. Louis-based MSO.