Shareholders Reject Dolan Bid

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For Cablevision Systems Corp., the hope that the third time would be the charm, turned out instead to be three strikes and out on its third attempt to go private.

During a 10-minute meeting at corporate offices in Bethpage, N.Y., Cablevision said its attempt to become a private entity did not carry the necessary vote with shareholders. No specifics about the vote tally were immediately available at or after the meeting.

Last week, many on Wall Street expected that the Dolans’ $36.26 per share bid would come up short. Clearbridge Advisors, which holds 13.7% of Cablevision stock, and Gamco Investors, which controls 8.3% of Cablevision stock, indicated that they both would vote against the privatization plan. Similarly, T.Rowe Price, Cablevision’s third largest shareholder with 5.7% and Marathon Partners, fourth with 5.3% of the stock, both said last week they would vote to nix the plan.

Combined, the four funds own about 26% of Cablevision’s Class A common stock, including the Dolans’ holdings, and 33% of non-Dolan shares. Although the Dolan family controls about 74% of Cablevision’s voting shares, they own less than 25% of the company’s Class A common stock. The family has said in offering documents that they would require a majority of the minority of Class A shareholders to approve the deal.

Cablevision CEO James Dolan issued the following statement at the meeting.

“While we are disappointed that shareholders did not approve the transaction, there is really nothing negative about today’s outcome. In fact, in many ways it is a very positive event. We see today’s outcome as a vote of confidence in the prospects of Cablevision, its management team, its 20,000 employees and the industry’s future. Cablevision has become a dynamic industry leader during the past 35 years and we are ready to continue as a public company.  We are extremely proud of all our outstanding employees who have maintained their focus on the business. We look forward to continuing our work together to serve our customers, to build on Cablevision’s success and to increase value for our shareholders.”

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