Comcast, TimeWarner Complete $17 Billion Adelphia Deal

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Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc. said Monday they completed a deal to buy the assets of bankrupt cable operator Adelphia Communications Corp., valued at around $17 billion. Time Warner's cable unit will take on 3.3 million Adelphia subscribers, bringing its total to 14.4 million, while Comcast will take on 1.7 million Adelphia subscribers, meaning it will have a total of 23.3 million subscribers. Time Warner and Comcast will pay $12.5 billion in cash and Time Warner Cable common stock representing about 16 percent of the equity in Time Warner Cable, in a deal Adelphia said in April was worth $16.9 billion.

Equitable cuts 27 in outsourcing

Equitable Gas Co. has hired a Johnstown company to manage its billing and general customer service calls, a move that will eliminate 27 jobs. The North Shore-based natural gas distributor, part of Equitable Resources Inc., contracted with NCO Co. in March to handle its collections calls, replacing a North Carolina firm. Effective today, NCO will take over billing and service calls. Equitable's contracts could add 55 employees to the company. Locally, Equitable will retain 10 employees in an internal call center in other capacities, and lay off or terminate with severance 27 others, spokeswoman Patricia Kornick said.

Brewer to pay bill

Bankrupt Pittsburgh Brewing Co. will agree to pay Equitable Gas about $20,000 in overdue utility bills, Tracey Perles, a spokeswoman for the Lawrenceville brewery, said Monday. Equitable last month asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge M. Bruce McCullough to order the brewer to comply with a previous order he had issued directing the funds be paid in weekly installments of $2,500 beginning March 6. A court hearing on the matter is scheduled today. This week, the brewery intends to ask the judge for an extension past Friday of its exclusive right to file a reorganization plan.

More steel mergers

Global steel industry consolidation isn't finished yet, and U.S. Steel Corp. and Nucor Corp. are among the firms most likely to make acquisitions, said a report issued Monday by Standard & Poor's Equity Research Services. Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel and Nucor have the "financial wherewithal" to make acquisitions and may want to improve and expand capabilities in certain markets, the report said. It identifies Commercial Metals, Quanex Corp. and Steel Dynamics among likely acquisition targets.

Charge for older phones

About 4.7 million Cingular Wireless subscribers with older phones will have to pay $5 extra each month as the company tries to prod them to get new handsets so it can devote its entire network to one type of signal. The new surcharge, unique among the major U.S. carriers, will be added to bills starting in September, the company said Monday. …