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Cablevision may spin off holdings

Other options to boost market value are stock buybacks, dividends.

August 06, 2008|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — Nine months after shareholders rejected the Dolan family's latest bid to take Cablevision Systems Corp. private, the cable operator said Tuesday that it was considering several options to boost its stock price, including spinning off some of its diverse holdings.

Chief Executive James L. Dolan, who has long argued that the market undervalues Cablevision, said in a statement that the company was "actively looking" at options to close the gap between its operating performance and the market value of its shares.

Cablevision said its board had also authorized it to explore stock buybacks and quarterly dividends.

The Bethpage, N.Y.-based company is considered one of the strongest cable franchises in the country and also owns several cable networks and Madison Square Garden.

At the end of June, Cablevision's market capitalization stood at about $8.5 billion, and it had about $12 billion in debt, according to Moody's Investors Service.

The Dolan family controls Cablevision through a special class of shares and has tried to take the company private several times over the last few years.

Those attempts have all failed, some amid fighting between James Dolan and his father, Charles, who at one point aired family grievances on the pages of New York tabloids.

Cablevision did not say which of its businesses it would consider selling. In addition to Madison Square Garden, Cablevision owns the three sports teams that play there: basketball's New York Knicks and New York Liberty, and hockey's New York Rangers.

The company's other entertainment venues include Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre, both in New York, and the Chicago Theatre.

Cablevision also runs several cable television networks, including AMC, IFC and WE tv, as part of its Rainbow Media Holdings unit.

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