Cablevision Buyout Deadline Extended

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Bankers tapped to finance the $7.9 billion buyout of Cablevision Systems Corp. stock not currently owned by the Dolan family extended the acceptance deadline for their loan commitments to fund the cash portion of the deal a fourth time Thursday.

The Dolans proposed purchasing the shares of Cablevision stock they don’t already own in June, which would effectively take the cable company private. According to that proposal, the Dolans would pay Cablevision shareholders $21 per share in cash and $12.50 in Rainbow Media Holdings LLC stock.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Thursday, Merrill Lynch Capital Corp., Banc of America Securities LLC and Bank of America N.A. said they would extend the acceptance date of their commitment letter to fund about $6.8 billion of the purchase price to Nov. 14 from Oct. 11. The banks had previously issued extensions in July, August and September.

The three banks have said they would fund the deal through a mixture of revolving-credit facilities, term loans, high-yield notes and an interim loan-credit facility.

By extending the acceptance date, the bankers give the Dolan family more breathing room to convince a special committee of Cablevision’s independent directors to sign off on the deal. Cablevision formed the special committee -- consisting of independent directors Thomas V. Reifenheiser and retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral John R. Ryan -- in June.

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