Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cable Firm Expands to Both Coasts

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cable Firm Expands to Both Coasts

Article excerpt

Charter Communications Inc., a rapidly growing cable TV company based in St. Louis County, and a New York investment firm have agreed to pay $370 million for cable systems in California, North Carolina and South Carolina.

As part of the agreement, Charter will set up a joint venture that includes 130,000 cable subscribers in St. Louis County, 80,000 in Connecticut and the 164,000 subscribers in California that are part of the new deal.

When this purchase and other pending deals are completed, Charter will be managing cable systems with 850,000 subscribers.

Three former officers of the old Cencom Cable Associates Inc. formed Charter in December 1992, about a year after Crown Media Inc. bought Cencom in 1991. The officers are Barry Babcock, Jerry Kent and Howard Wood.

In a separate deal announced last year, Charter and a Dallas cable firm are buying Crown Media from Hallmark Cards for $900 million. The Crown deal, which is expected to close by mid-January, includes the 130,000 subscribers in St. Louis County and an additional 45,000 subscribers in Metro East.

In the latest deal, Charter and Kelso & Co. of New York are buying systems from Gaylord Entertainment Co. of Nashville, Tenn., the company that operates cable networks including TNN, the Nashville Network and Country Music Television. Gaylord's cable systems have 180,000 in subscribers, with the bulk of them in the Los Angeles suburbs of Riverside and Pasadena. …

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