Former Charter Communications Inc. CEO Jerald Kent made it official Tuesday
-- he's getting back into the cable industry, forming an investment vehicle with
two other partners called CEQUEL III to invest in cable and telecommunications
As reported in Monday's Multichannel News, Kent has been pounding the
pavement to raise money for the past few months and, according to sources, he
has had contact with several private equity firms, including past Charter
backers Kelso & Co.
Sources also said Kent had been in conversations with a division of The
Toronto-Dominion Bank and with Providence Equity Partners Inc.
At CEQUEL, Kent is joined by Charter cofounder Howard Wood and Daniel
Bergstein, a partner in New York law firm Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker
Wood and Kent have a long history -- both were at 'Big Six' accounting firm
Arthur Andersen & Co. before forming Cencom Cable Associates, Charter's
predecessor, in 1982 with Barry Babcock.
The three executives went on to form Charter in 1993, growing it to become
one of the top 10 MSOs in the country before selling to Microsoft Corp.
cofounder Paul Allen in 1998.
Kent, who continued to run Charter after the sale, grew the MSO into the
fourth-largest cable operator and consistently led the industry in cash-flow
Kent resigned from Charter in September, citing differences with Allen. Wood
resigned from Charter's board of directors in December.
Bergstein, who is head of his firm's telecommunications and media practice,
has been representing Wood and Kent in various capacities for 18 years.
A press release Tuesday said Kent will serve as president and CEO of CEQUEL,
with Wood serving as chairman. Bergstein will be an active investor.
The company stated that its mission will be to manage and invest in
telecommunications companies, including cable, broadband, wireline, wireless,
full broadband connectivity and other subscriber-based businesses in the
The company will be based in St. Louis.
Kent said the name CEQUEL was 'symbolic of our desire to continue our track
record of building a culture that is based on honesty and integrity while
operating in a fast-paced, rapidly changing industry. Entrepreneurs lead
innovation, and that's what CEQUEL III is all about.'