US West makes new inroads into cable television market

THE regional telephone operator US West is to acquire two cable television systems in the Atlanta area for dollars 1.2bn ( pounds 785m) cash and stock.

The move accelerates the advance of the 'Baby Bells' into the cable business and challenges the BellSouth telephone company on its home turf.

The two - Wometco and Georgia Cable Television - belonged to the Texas investor Robert Bass and his family. Together they serve around 466,000 households.

US West has been the most aggressive of all the Baby Bells in moving into the entertainment and cable businesses. Last year it paid dollars 2.5bn for a 25.5 per cent stake in Time Warner Entertainment with the aim of developing full service networks.

Its chairman, Richard McCormick, said that although Time Warner was not involved in the acquisition of the two cable companies it would be a strategic partner offering programming and other expertise in developing them. Time Warner is the second-largest cable operator in the US.

The model for US West's push into cable is its British operation, where it has the TeleWest joint venture with Tele-Communications, the biggest US cable systems operator. TeleWest now has 252,000 cable customers and 182,000 phone lines in Britain.

Atlanta is the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the US and one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. The systems being bought are also attractive because they are highly clustered.

Bell Cablemedia, one of the largest British cable television operations, is raising dollars 479m through a public offering in the US and UK and the issue of senior debt notes. The shares will be traded on Nasdaq but the company hopes to seek a full listing in London.

After completion Bell Cablemedia, valued at around dollars 1bn, will be owned 42.2 per cent by Bell Canada, with Cable and Wireless owning 12.5 per cent.

Jones, a US cable group, will have 14.1 per cent of the new company after reversing its cable interests into the group. Part of the proceeds will be used to fund Bell Cablemedia's cable telephone and television franchises in Britain.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This extremely successful and well-established...

Guru Careers: FX Trader / Risk Manager

Competitive with monthly bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced FX...

Guru Careers: Investment Writer / Stock Picker

Competitive (Freelance) : Guru Careers: An Investment Writer / Stock Picker is...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue