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
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine