Cablevision to go private

Published May 3, 2007

NEW YORK - Cablevision Systems Corp., a New York-area cable TV provider that also owns Madison Square Garden, said Wednesday it has agreed to be taken private by the Dolan family, the company's controlling shareholders, in a deal worth about $10.6-billion.

It was the Dolans' third attempt to take the company private in recent years, the first two having been rejected as inadequate by a two-person committee of independent directors on its board.

That committee, and the full board of directors, have approved the Dolans' latest offer of $36.26 per share, the company said in a statement, saying it was in the best interests of public shareholders.

Last fall the Dolans offered to take the company private at $27 per share in cash, and in January raised the offer to $30, but that offer too was deemed inadequate by the board committee.

Those directors had also rejected a more complex bid the Dolans made in 2005 to pay $21 in cash plus stock from a newly created public company containing Madison Square Garden and a group of cable channels.

The latest offer represents an 11 percent premium over Cablevision's closing price of $32.67 on Tuesday, before the deal was announced. On Wednesday, Cablevision's shares rose $3.23, nearly 10 percent, to $35.90.

The Dolans, led by Charles Dolan, the chairman, and his son James, the CEO, control Cablevision through a special class of supervoting shares. The independent directors had to sign off on any transaction to go private in order to ensure that public shareholders got a fair deal.

As one of the conditions of the deal announced Wednesday, the transaction must be approved by a majority of the holders of Cablevision's publicly traded stock that is not held by the Dolan family.