Prestige Cable TV Inc. said it is seeking out strategic
alliances with other major companies.
Prestige -- which has systems in Georgia, Virginia,
Maryland and North Carolina, totaling some 160,000 subscribers -- said in a prepared
statement, "The confluence of cable television, Internet access and telephony would
require greater resources than those available to small and medium-sized companies such as
Prestige is privately held and family-owned, and it has
been in business since 1969. The company said that during its search for a partner or
alliance -- which is expected to take about nine months -- it will continue to go ahead
with its plans to provide Internet access for subscribers.
Thomas MacCrory of Communications Equity Associates Inc. is
Prestige director of operations Marty Sonenshine said the
company is in the middle of an upgrade plan to boost its systems to 750-megahertz
capacity, which should be completed in 12 to 15 months. It also plans to launch its first
digital headend -- in Georgia -- in 60 days.
Through its Prestige Vision subsidiary, the company also
provides its own local-origination programming in all of its markets -- primarily news.
"We have full-blown local origination, with a full
news team and production team," Sonenshine said. "It's been a real asset for
Although it is small, Prestige is clustered well. The
company has about 50,000 subscribers in suburban Atlanta; 28,000 subscribers in Carroll
County, Md., near Washington, D.C.; 37,000 subscribers in Mecklenberg and Iredell
counties, N.C., near Charlotte; and more than 40,000 customers in Spotsylvania, Fauquier
and Stafford counties, Va.
MacCrory added that the systems have large headends, they
are in high-growth areas and they have very good demographics. He said the average number
of subscribers per headend for the systems is about 40,000 -- high for a company of
"One headend has about 6,000 subscribers, and the
other four have the rest," MacCrory said. "It's unique."
MacCrory said Prestige is still in the early stages of
seeking out a deal, and the company has made no decision as to whether it would seek a
partnership or an outright sale of the company. But if the company decides to sell, it
likely would trade at the high end of the scale, given the state of its systems.
With recent cable system valuations of $3,000 to $4,000 per
subscriber, Prestige could fetch between $480 million and $640 million.