Dolan: Ignore 'Speculation’

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New York— Cablevision Systems Corp.’s stock price rose 3.2%, to $27.56 from the Wednesday closing price of $26.70, last Thursday after John Malone left the company’s board of directors and analysts interpreted the move as a possible prelude to Cablevision selling programming assets.

But CEO James Dolan later shot down a connection between Malone’s decision and any speculation about Cablevision being interested in selling Rainbow. “The speculation is wrong,” he said in a brief interview late on June 9.

The stock price dipped a bit in intraday trading on June 10, declining about 1.5%, to $27.14, last Friday afternoon.

Cablevision said in a securities filing that made the news on June 9 that Malone, chairman of cable-programming stable Liberty Media Corp., resigned seats on Cablevision and CSC Holdings Inc.’s boards “to avoid any potential concerns that could arise” from his being a director there and of Liberty board because both “own programming companies.”

Interviewed briefly last Thursday night, at the opening of Rainbow’s IFC Center in Greenwich Village, Cablevision CEO James Dolan said speculation about possible selling Rainbow was off base and that the stated reason for Malone’s departure spoke for itself. Basically, Malone’s lawyers told him there were potential conflicts with his staying on Cablevision’s board, Dolan said.

Pointing to the IFC Center — the former Waverly Theater, which Cablevision spent a reported $8 million to convert into a high-tech independent-film screening and production facility — Dolan said, “we’re still obviously moving forward” with investments in Rainbow assets.

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