Englewood, Colo. -- Tele-Communications Inc.'s
cable unit closed a pair of pending Midwestern cable-system deals with Time Warner Cable
and Multimedia Cablevision last Monday, affecting about 315,000 subscribers.
The deals were from last year's extended "summer
of love," in which TCI's cable unit, TCI Communications Inc., participated in a
number of strategic swaps, sales and joint ventures aimed at strengthening geographic
In March, TCI's summary of the deals counted 12 joint
ventures, 10 swaps and four sales, involving a total of 5.3 million subscribers.
When all of them close, TCI's consolidated subscriber
count will shrink to about 10.5 million from 14.4 million at the end of 1997. But TCI will
own around 42 percent of various "partnerships" containing 10.5 million
subscribers, or attributed ownership of about 4.4 million cable customers.
In one deal that closed last Monday, TCI shifted 128,000
subscribers in Kansas for 93,000 Multimedia subscribers in Illinois and Indiana.
Multimedia is owned by Gannett Co.
In the other deal, TCI contributed 95,000 subscribers in
Overland Park, Kan., to an existing 50-50 joint venture with Time Warner. The venture,
Kansas City Cable Partners, now has 300,000 subscribers.
Time Warner and TCI are still working on a pair of joint
ventures involving about 1 million subscribers in Texas, and on several system swaps that
also were announced last September in a hodgepodge involving more than 2 million cable
Aside from last week's closings, only a handful of
last year's often complex deals have been completed. They are: TCI's exchange of
New York-area systems for equity in Cablevision Systems Corp.; a system joint venture in
Kentucky with InterMedia Partners and Blackstone Capital Partners Merchant Banking Fund
L.P.; a joint venture with Adelphia Communications Corp. containing systems in New York,
Ohio and Pennsylvania; and a joint venture with TCA Cable TV Inc. involving systems in
Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico.
TCI spokeswoman LaRae Marsik said two more are scheduled to
close within the next month. Most of the remaining deals are expected to close in the
third and fourth quarters of the year, she added.