Marcus Cable confirmed last week that it has retained
Goldman Sachs & Co., which owns more than one-third of the MSO, to explore
"various strategic alternatives" involving ownership of the nation's
10th-largest cable operator.
Marcus chairman Jeffrey Marcus, who previously declined to
comment, said in a statement last Tuesday that the "unprecedented" run-up in
cable-stock prices and other "favorable dynamics" in the cable business prompted
Marcus' owners to review their options.
Dallas-based Marcus -- which has big clusters in the Fort
Worth, Texas, area, and in Wisconsin, and smaller clusters in Alabama, Indiana and
California -- could command $2.5 billion to $3 billion in a sale, analysts said.
Tele-Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. and Charter
Communications Inc. are among the leading candidates interested in acquiring Marcus,
Separately, Marcus said it has a definitive agreement to
sell some of the nonstrategic systems that it had placed on the sale block before deciding
to consider bids on the whole company. In marketing those noncore systems, Marcus
discovered that some potential buyers were interested in all of the company's more
than 1.2 million subscribers.
Marcus said it has agreed to sell a total of 63,000
subscribers in Connecticut and Virginia to TMC Holdings Inc. for $150 million. The
Connecticut system serves 46,000 subscribers in Waterbury, Middlebury, Plymouth, Prospect
and Wolcott from a single, 550-megahertz headend. The Virginia system has 17,000
subscribers in Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Fort Lee and parts of unincorporated Prince
TMC is affiliated with Adelphia Communications Corp., which
owns systems near the ones that Marcus is selling in Connecticut and Virginia.
Marcus previously signed a deal to sell nonstrategic
systems with 26,000 subscribers in Delaware and Maryland to Comcast. Those deals were part
of a plan to sell systems with about 200,000 subscribers, paring the MSO down to some 1.1
million subscribers. Systems with 107,000 subscribers in Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma and
Mississippi remain to be sold. Waller Capital Corp. is representing Marcus in those sales.