Cable Operators

Bresnan Systems' Auction Being Guided By UBS, Credit Suisse

3/22/2010 10:15 AM Eastern

Detailed "books" on systems owned by Bresnan Communications are expected to be disseminated to interested parties shortly.

The Wire on March 1 informed the world that Bresnan Communications principal backer had been exploring possible interest in buying its majority stake in the 320,000-customer cable operation. Here's an update: detailed "books" on the systems are expected to go out to interested parties shortly.

Providence Equity Partners began meeting with bankers concerning its options regarding the Bresnan systems, in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, earlier this month.

According to sources familiar with the process, Providence has picked Credit Suisse and UBS as its lead bankers in what is now considered an auction. Those same sources said that CS and UBS will offer about $1 billion in staple financing (about 6 times Bresnan's annual cash flow of $160 million) to the winning bidder.

That would push the price well into the $1 billion range, including equity.

No date has been set for initial bids on the systems yet. Possible bidders include other private equity firms and smaller cable operators, people in the know say. Comcast, which owns about 30%, would likely be encouraged to remain a partner by any new financial investor.

September