One year after he sold his systems for $3.1 billion, Bill Bresnan is looking
to get back into cable. And he may not be the only industry billionaire on the
lookout for system acquisitions, sources said.
'I've been out for a year now; I'm getting restless,' Bresnan said. 'We
closed on the sale to Charter [Communications Inc.] last February, and we have
been doing a number of activities. I think the market understands cable a little
better than it did a few months ago. The time is right.'
Bresnan confirmed his bid for a group of systems that AT&T Broadband sold
to Mediacom Communications Corp. He would not reveal which systems, but sources
said he had bid for AT&T Broadband's Iowa properties.
Bresnan agreed to sell his systems with roughly 690,000 subscribers in the
Midwest to Charter in July 1999 for $2.1 billion in Charter stock and cash and
another $1 billion in assumed debt. Since then, he has kept busy managing his
But some billionaire ex-cable guys just can't stay away for long. Former
Lenfest Communications Inc. chairman H.F. 'Gerry' Lenfest has also been kicking
some tires, according to sources. The recently sold AT&T Broadband systems
are among the properties in which he has expressed interest.
Lenfest -- who sold LCI to Comcast Corp. last year for $7.2 billion in stock
-- did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Their renewed interest coincides with the return of several private-equity
firms to the cable business. Although Bresnan said he made his bid for the
AT&T Broadband systems on his own, he added that potential backers are
waiting in the wings. He's also received several calls from other private-equity
firms over the past few months, he said.
Many callers were investors who had lost money with cable overbuilders, he