Rocco Wants Privacy

Mediacom Communications founder and chairman Rocco Commisso  wants to take his 1.2 million-subscriber MSO private, unveiling a $6 per share offer for the small market cable operator Tuesday.

Commisso founded Mediacom in 1995 and grew it into the seventh largest cable operator in the country. Commisso, who took the operator public in 2000,  currently owns 40% of its equity and 87% of its vote. The $6 per share offer represents a 13% premium to Mediacom ‘s share price as of May 28. Based on Mediacom's 68.1 million outstanding shares, the deal is worth about $409 million.

In a statement, Commisso said that if his offer is accepted, he will continue his roles as chairman and CEO of the company. He added that he has no interest in selling his controlling stake in the company, which essentially takes any future competing offers off the table.

"I am prepared to move very quickly to negotiate a transaction with the Special Committee and its advisors, and believe that my familiarity with the company and its operations will allow us to finalize definitive documentation on an accelerated basis," Commisso said in his letter to the board of directors.

Mediacom said in a statement that it has appointed a special committee of independent directors to evaluate the proposal, including Thomas Reifenheiser and Natale Ricciardi. The special committee will retain independent financial advisors and legal counsel to assist in its work.

Mediacom has about 1.2 million subscribers in secondary markets, with the state of Iowa representing its largest cluster. Commisso has been an outspoken leader in the industry, taking on high programming costs and battling Sinclair Communications over the past several years over high retransmission consent fees.

In February 2009, the company purchased 30% of its outstanding shares from Morris Communications, one of its founding investors.