Allen Watch: Century Down?


New York -- Cable's favorite new pastime --
wondering which company Paul Allen will buy next -- heated up last week with rumors that
he was accumulating MediaOne Group stock and that he had broken off talks with Century
Communications Corp.

Those MSOs have long been among Allen's rumored
favorites, largely because both have big chunks of the Los Angeles market, as does Allen,
through his Marcus Cable Co. L.P. buyout and his agreement to buy Charter Communications

Executives close to Allen's cable operations had
previously described talks with Century as well-advanced. But in the past two weeks,
investment bankers have said that they thought the talks were off because Century chairman
Leonard Tow wanted too much for the MSO's 1.3 million subscribers.

Century has declined comment, and president Bernard
Gallagher could not be reached.

Michael Yagemann, the NationsBanc Montgomery Securities LLC
investment banker who has been advising Allen on cable deals, did not return calls last

Reuters quoted Yagemann last week as saying that Allen has
been actively talking to potential sellers, but he declined to comment specifically on

Published reports last week also cited rumors that Allen
has been buying MediaOne stock, and that he may have accumulated as many as 20 million
shares, which would give him about a 3 percent stake. An Allen spokeswoman said she can
only comment on publicly disclosed holdings.