Jerry Kent figures that his new investment venture has the potential to
become a big cable player.
Kent is the former Charter Communications Inc. CEO who formed CEQUEL III with
former Charter director Howard Wood and investor Daniel Bergstein to invest in
cable and telecommunications properties.
He said in an interview Wednesday that CEQUEL has access to as much as $6
billion to do deals.
Given average cable-system prices of between $3,500 and $4,500 per
subscriber, $6 billion could buy CEQUEL between 1.3 million and 1.7 million
customers, putting it in the bottom tier among the 10 largest MSOs in the
Kent said he is able to raise that money through a number of banks and
private equity funds.
Although he declined to name his backers, Kent confirmed that he has talked
to The Toronto-Dominion Bank and Kelso & Co., a private equity fund that was
an early backer of Charter.
'We've talked to all of the usual suspects,' he added.
Kent said funding would be provided on a deal-specific basis.
While cable will be an important part of CEQUEL's strategy, it won't be the
only one, Kent said.
He added that the company will focus on telecommunications investments,
including competitive local-exchange carriers, tower services and regional phone
'We are looking at cable, but the opportunity to piece together another 5
[million] to 7 million-subscriber MSO -- those opportunities have passed this
industry unless we do a major acquisition of a fairly large company,' he said.
'We want cable to be a leg of the stool.'