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Vaughn Bids on Adelphia JV Puerto Rico Systems

Jim Vaughn -- the former head of FrontierVision Partners L.P. and defunct overbuilder Western Integrated Networks LLC -- is part of an investor group that has made a $625 million bid for cable systems in Puerto Rico owned jointly by Adelphia Communications Corp. and ML Media Partners LP.

Vaughn -- who sold FrontierVision to Adelphia in 1999 for $2.1 billion -- was named in an April 5 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan by ML.

ML, which has had an often-contentious relationship with Adelphia -- it has been trying to get out of the Puerto Rico joint venture for the past five years -- made the filing in hopes that the court will force Adelphia to open the systems’ books to allow Vaughn and his group to perform due diligence.

Vaughn is backed by Wachovia Capital Partners and MC Venture Partners, a $550 million private-equity fund, and he signed a letter of interest March 16. ML said Adelphia has tried to block the sale ever since.

Adelphia has even, according to ML, tried to talk Vaughn out of buying the Puerto Rico systems and into a partnership with Adelphia "that the purchaser has no interest in pursuing."

The $625 million price tag seems unusually high for the Puerto Rico systems. With 140,000 subscribers, that values the systems at about $4,464 per subscriber, or some 35% more than the $3,300-per-customer value Adelphia placed on its entire cable operation.

Adelphia spokesman Paul Jacobson said the MSO would file its response with the court in a few days. He added that Adelphia has stated in the past that it believes the best interests of the company would be served by keeping it intact.

"It’s safe to say it has been a difficult relationship in Puerto Rico," Jacobson said.