Cable Operators

Millennium on the Block?

1/09/2005 4:00 PM Eastern

Since its inception about seven years ago, the cable community has wondered aloud when Millennium Digital Media -- the St. Louis-based MSO with about 130,000 subscribers in Washington, Oregon, Michigan and Maryland -- would be sold.

Last week, the rumor mill was once again hot with speculation that Millennium was talking with cable investment bankers -- including Denver-based Daniels & Associates -- about a possible deal.

Millennium executives denied contemplating a sale. “We have not hired Daniels; we’re not talking to anybody,” senior vice president of programming and product development Peter Smith said.

“Like all cable companies with multiple systems, we always evaluate offers to buy, sell or trade,” he added. “But that’s something that goes on as a matter of routine business. We have not hired Daniels and have no other brokers hired. These are rumors we’ve heard over the years, and we’re still here.”

Smith said Millennium is gearing up for a first-quarter rollout of voice-over-Internet-protocol telephony in conjunction with Net2Phone Inc., and it is even considering acquiring other cable properties.

But sources inside the investment community said the company has at least sent out feelers, with one saying that Daniels received the listing for the property. Daniels chairman and CEO Brian Deevy declined comment.

Millennium has a system in Lansing, Mich., with more than 40,000 subscribers, but it also has two large properties in Ann Arundel County, Md., and Seattle that are overbuilds of Comcast Corp.

One possible suitor could be overbuilder WideOpenWest LLC, which has about 295,000 subscribers in the Midwest, including Michigan. But the asking price -- said to be about $400 million -- could prove to be too rich for WOW.

For more on Millennium, please see Mike Farrell’s story on page two of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.

September