WideOpenWest LLC plans to transform itself from a Western start-up to a major
Midwest MSO by purchasing cable properties from SBC Communications Inc.'s
Ameritech New Media in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.
Talks between the two parties have proceeded to a point at which an
announcement is 'imminent' and could come as soon as Monday (May 14), sources
close to the deal told Multichannel News.
'There are still some issues out there, but they're getting close,' said an
industry insider familiar with the negotiations. The source would not specify
what those issues were.
The deal would give WOW access to ANM's cable customers and systems passing
an estimated 1.5 million households. The company's last release on the subject
-- shortly after SBC closed its purchase of Ameritech Corp. in October 1999 --
stated that ANM had 113 cable franchises.
Financial terms could not be determined, but cable analysts said they assumed
the sale price would be well below the $4,000 to $5,000 per subscriber that many
well-built cable systems have recently commanded. That would put the price below
SBC has been trying to sell the ANM systems for about two years.
'They must have gotten a great deal, I'm sure of that,' Paul Kagan Associates
Inc. cable analyst John Mansell said.
Executives at both SBC and WOW declined to comment on the rumored sale.
WOW's equity backers are Boston-based ABRY Partners Inc., a private-equity
investment fund, and Oak Hill Capital Partners L.P., a Fort Worth, Texas-based
fund formed by Robert M. Bass.
The two parties put up $50 million in 1999 to get the overbuilder off the
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