Rocco has left the building.
A few hours after shareholders overwhelming approved Mediacom Communications chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso's offer to purchase the remaining shares of the company he founded in 1995, Mediacom closed the deal that effectively took it off the public rolls.
Commisso had proposed taking the company private in June. After several rounds of negotiations with a special committee of independent directors appointed specifically to evaluate the proposal, Mediacom accepted a revised offer in November for $8.75 per share. The final piece of the puzzle was completed at round 10:30 a.m. on March 4 at a special meeting of shareholders in New York City to approve the deal. According to Mediacom, more than 97% of the shareholders who voted affirmed Commisso's proposal. The transaction was closed a few hours later.
Commisso founded Mediacom in 1995 and took it public in 2000. In the meantime Mediacom has grown into the eighth largest MSO in the country with about 1.2 million customers. But Commisso grew increasingly frustrated with Wall Street valuations and volatility. In a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in February, Mediacom said that the gap between public and private valuations led Commisso to consider taking the company private.
"I was gratified to see our public stockholders overwhelmingly approve the going-private transaction at today's meeting," Commisso said in a statement after the deal closed." Our management team and fellow employees can now focus full time on delivering the best experience to our customers. I am excited for the Company and our employees as we enter a new chapter in our history.
"I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the members of our Board of Directors, most of whom served the company since our initial public offering in 2000," Commisso continued. "Throughout the years, they made tremendous contributions, provided sound wisdom and advice to our management team, and at all times upheld the interests of public stockholders. I wish them well in their future endeavors,"
Over the past few years, Mediacom stock has languished in the $3 to $4 per share range. In 2010 the stock had one of its biggest increases ever - 89.5% or $4 per share - but that was mainly in the second half of the year, after Commisso made his first buyout offer in June.
On Friday, Mediacom stock closed (for the last time) at $8.84 per share, up 2 cents each and representing a 97.8% increase over the past 14 months.
As a newly private company, Mediacom joins the ranks of other cable companies that eschewed public investors - including Cox Communications in 2004 and Insight Communications in 2005.
With its new status as a private company, Mediacom will now be able to focus on longer-term goals. But it won't be free from public scrutiny entirely - its operating subsidiaries Mediacom, LLC and Mediacom Broadband, LLC will still file financial documents with the SEC because both have public debt.