Dolan Sets a High Sales Price


New York -- Cablevision Systems Corp. president and CEO James Dolan told investors Friday that he’d only sell his New York-area cable properties at a very high premium.

"There is a great deal of upside in this business, and any kind of consolidation or event like that would require a valuation like we have not seen before," Dolan said at the UBS Warburg LLC Media Week conference here. "For someone who’s hungry, it would be a rather large bite."

He also reiterated his commitment to the cable business, adding that Cablevision will focus on reducing debt and leave the riskier ventures to its planned satellite spinoff.

"One of the reasons I wanted to come here is to tell investors I am completely committed to that strategy," he added. "You will not see this company go off on any tangents."

Cablevision announced Oct. 23 that it would split its business into two entities -- one consisting of the cable systems, its regional programming units and Clearview Cinemas; and the other comprising Rainbow DBS and its national programming networks: WE: Women’s Entertainment, AMC, The Independent Film Channel and Mag Rack.

The spinoff is expected to take place some time next year.

Dolan said the separation in part is a result of a need to stabilize Cablevision and help it to reduce its debt. He added that the satellite service, dubbed Voom, did not fit the profile of the new company.

"It will be much more predictable," Dolan said of Cablevision. "The satellite venture is one we are enthusiastic about, but when you mix that with an operation like cable, they’re very different and they require a different investment mind-set."