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Paul Allen weighs buyout of Charter

August 16, 2007|From Bloomberg News

Billionaire Paul Allen may try to buy or recapitalize Charter Communications Inc., the cable television company he controls.

Allen, 54, a co-founder of Microsoft Corp., is also considering steps to reduce St. Louis-based Charter's debt, as well as buying additional shares, according to a regulatory filing Wednesday.

Allen controls Charter through ownership of Class B shares that have more voting rights than the common shares.

"He's continuing to look for all options," said Matthew Dundon, an analyst with Miller Tabak Roberts Securities, a research firm specializing in high-yield debt. "This is a deeply leveraged company that burns cash. He may feel this is the time for him to get involved."

Shares of Charter fell 9 cents , to $2.57, giving the company a market value of $1.03 billion. They have declined 16% this year.

Charter also announced a shareholder rights plan that limits the ability of shareholders to own more than 5% of the Class A stock without the board's approval. Allen owns 28.4 million Class A common shares of Charter, or 7.1% of the total, according to Bloomberg data.

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