AT&T Sells Cablevision Shares

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AT&T Corp. said last Thursday it had sold most of its Cablevision Systems Corp. stock for about $1.3 billion, or $36.05 per share.

AT&T said it sold about 19.2 million Cablevision shares and, through a trust, 23.4 million shares of an exchangeable trust security that will be exchangeable into up to 23.4 million shares of Cablevision common stock in three years.

AT&T got the its Cablevision shares when it bought Tele-Communications Inc. in 1999. AT&T first said it would sell the stake in April.

The sale represents the bulk of the company's Cablevision holdings. AT&T said in the statement that if underwriter overallotments were exercised, it would sell the remainder of the stock: 2.9 million shares and 3.5 million shares of exchangeable securities. That sale could generate another $233 million.

AT&T said the proceeds would help pay down debt.

A spokeswoman for the company would not disclose who bought the shares. AT&T's stake represented about 30 percent of Cablevision's outstanding stock, but it held minimal voting rights. Most voting rights remain with Cablevision chairman Charles Dolan.

Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. and Salomon Smith Barney Inc. led the offering.