Cablevision Systems Corp. promoted one of its top dealmakers -- Rainbow Media
Holdings Inc. vice chairman Hank Ratner -- to vice chairman of the entire
company, effective immediately.
Ratner, a 15-year veteran of Cablevision, will join current vice chairmen
William Bell and Robert Lemle.
In a press release, Cablevision said Ratner will work closely with CEO James
Dolan regarding overall planning and development, as well as transaction
strategy, management and implementation. He will also work with chairman Charles
Dolan on company initiatives, transactions and other strategic matters.
"Hank has played an integral role in virtually every major development at
Rainbow, its networks and its related entities," James Dolan said in a prepared
"He is a first-rate strategic thinker who has also helped to guide a number
of Cablevision-related transactions," he added. "Given what Hank has achieved
and the great work that he has done for the company, we know he will be a superb
addition to Cablevision's executive team, and we look forward to his continued
In an interview, Ratner said his focus in his new job will be similar to his
"I spent a lot of time at Rainbow working on strategy, transactions and
alliances," he said. "That's what I'll be doing over here at Cablevision. The
move is sort of a formalization because I had already started working on matters
beyond Rainbow. It seemed natural to formalize that."
Ratner has had a hand in most of Cablevision's major transactions in the past
decade, including the Dec. 9 sale of Bravo to General Electric Co.'s NBC unit
for $1.25 billion.
Ratner was also involved in the Dec. 19 agreement to sell about 50
personal-communications-services licenses owned by Cablevision-controlled
Northcoast Communications LLC to Verizon Wireless for $750 million.
Ratner said his appointment does not signal that a major corporate deal is in
"It is an indication that what I was doing before will continue to be needed
in the future," he added. "Strategy is always important. There are going to be
transactional opportunities, and alliances always make sense. Importantly, we
will remain very focused on our growth plan that we've announced and that we're
That includes continuing the rollout of its digital-cable service and its
high-speed-data product, Optimum Online, he said.
One of Ratner's earlier deals -- the creation of the Fox Sports Net regional
sports networks and News Corp.'s $850 million investment in Rainbow's sports
channels -- has again entered the news.
News Corp. has an option that became exercisable Dec.18 to put its interest
in the regional sports networks to Cablevision for cash. That option expires
While neither party has revealed what it will do, Cablevision has the option
of buying out News Corp.'s interest, doing nothing, or negotiating another
alternative -- possibly swapping its interests in the regional sports networks
outside of New York for News Corp.'s interest in Madison Square Garden.
Ratner said he has been in regular contact with News Corp. since he first did
the deal five years ago. "There are three potential alternatives, all of which
we would be happy with," he added.
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