Report: Allen to Take Charter Private


Charter Communications Inc.'s stock, down more than 80 percent for the year,
got a jolt Monday after reports surfaced that chairman Paul Allen may be
making moves to take the company private.

In its Monday-morning editions, The New York Times, citing unnamed
sources, claimed that Allen, also the cofounder of Microsoft Corp., was
contemplating buying more Charter stock and debt, possibly in a move to take the
MSO private.

Charter officials declined comment.

The news encouraged investors, who drove Charter stock up nearly 37
percent during trading Monday to $3.61 per share, up 37 percent, or 95 cents

Allen could buy Charter's remaining outstanding shares cheaply -- they closed
at $2.64 each July 26. With roughly 55 percent of Charter's class-A common
stock already in his possession, Allen could pay double last Friday's closing
price for the remaining 133 million shares for about $700 million.

Allen and several other company executives have been buying Charter stock on
the open market recently, with Allen spending about $20 million to buy more than
5 million shares.

Coupled with his holdings in Charter's supervoting shares, Allen controls
about 93 percent of the vote at the company.

Some of Charter's $17 billion in debt is currently trading at about 35 cents on
the dollar.

Allen, according to Forbes magazine's list of the 400 richest people
in America, is said to be worth $28.2 billion personally.

The Charter buzz, coupled with a 447-point gain in the Dow Jones Industrial
Average, also helped to push up the rest of the sector.

Comcast Corp. gained $2.15 (11.7 percent) to $20.60 and AOL Time Warner Inc. --
fueled by reports that it was close to a settlement with AT&T Corp. about
unwinding its Time Warner Entertainment partnership -- rose 67 cents to $11.57.
AT&T closed at $9.74, up 60 cents.

Other gainers included: Insight Communications Co. Inc. ($8.80, up 41 cents),
Mediacom Communications Corp. ($5.27, up 25 cents), Cox Communications Inc.
($26.15, up $2.23) and Cablevision Systems Corp. ($7.76, up $1.01).