Telewest Communications plc has reached an agreement in principle with its
shareholders regarding a restructuring that will give its bondholders 98.5%
equity in the No. 2 U.K. cable operator in exchange for retiring $5.6 billion in
Telewest’s largest bondholders include Liberty Media Corp., W.R. Huff Asset
Management Co. LLC and IDT Corp.
The deal is said to be the next step in what could be a merger between
Telewest and NTL Inc., the largest cable operator in the United Kingdom, with
2.1 million subscribers. Telewest has about 1.3 million cable subscribers in the
NTL went through its own restructuring earlier this year -- it emerged from
Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January after agreeing to swap $10.9 billion in debt
for 100% equity. In August, NTL president Barclay Knapp resigned and was
replaced by chief operating officer Simon Duffy.
In February, Telewest managing director Charles Burdick stated that the MSO
could possibly merge with NTL in early 2004.
Telewest shares were down 11% (93 cents each) to $7.53 per share in 4 p.m.
trading Monday. NTL stock was up 6% ($2.70 per share) to