New York -- With three potential bidders for AT&T Broadband assembled at
a UBS Warburg LLC media conference here Tuesday, many investors might have
expected additional insight into the battle for the largest MSO in the country.
They would have been disappointed.
Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc. and AOL Time Warner Inc. -- which all
made bids for AT&T Broadband over the weekend, according to reports -- all
sent executives to the meeting, but they were extremely tight-lipped when the
topic came around to AT&T Broadband.
AOL Time Warner chairman Steve Case, Tuesday's keynote speaker, deflected
questions about AT&T Broadband but admitted that he was interested in the
'It is in our strategic interest to be engaged in any action of significance
in the cable industry,' Case said. 'We own cable operations and cable networks,
and AT&T [Corp.] has an economic interest in Time Warner Entertainment. We
certainly define ourselves as an interested party.'
Comcast Cable Communications Inc. president Steve Burke also ducked questions
about his company's AT&T Broadband bid, adding that once bids were
submitted, bidders were kept in the dark.
Cox president Jim Robbins just flat out refused to talk about it. 'You're
asking me a question I don't want to answer,' he told UBS Warburg cable analyst
Tom Eagan during the question-and-answer portion of his presentation.
Bids for AT&T Broadband were due Monday. According to press reports,
Microsoft Corp. has also entered the picture, agreeing to back Comcast and Cox
in their bids for AT&T Broadband.
Comcast also tweaked its bid slightly, with the Roberts family, the company's
controlling shareholders, agreeing to reduce their voting control to about 35
percent from 49 percent, sources indicated.
Comcast has also offered to purchase AT&T's 26 percent interest in TWE --
something that was not included in its original bid.