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Shaw Wants to Sell U.S. Systems

3/31/2002 7:00 PM Eastern

Canadian cable and telecommunications company Shaw Communications Corp. said last Thursday it would put its U.S. cable systems on the block in order to focus on its western Canadian operations.

Shaw had about 69,585 cable subscribers in Texas and Florida, as of Aug. 31, according to the company's latest annual report. Those systems pass about 105,000 homes.

Shaw is the second largest Canadian cable operator — behind Rogers Communications Inc. — with about 2 million subscribers.

Shaw reported a $74.4 million loss in its fiscal second quarter (ended Feb. 28).

Shaw announced its intention to sell off the U.S systems as part of overall cost-cutting measures that include the layoff of about 400 employees.

According to published reports, employees involved in the layoffs were let go earlier in March. Shaw said the layoffs mainly involved employees associated with the building or upgrading of its network infrastructure and promotions for its new Internet services.

As of Feb. 28, Shaw said that 96 percent of its systems were fully upgraded.

The company did not reveal how much it would sell its U.S. cable systems for, but added the proceeds would be used to pay down debt.

Given average cable systems values of about $4,000 per subscriber, the properties could be worth about $278 million.

September