AT&T Board to Decide Future of Cable-TV Unit

19 December 2001

The board of telecoms giant AT&T is due to meet at 11 a.m. today (Wednesday) to determine the fate of AT&T Broadband, America’s biggest cable-TV company.

If the board does decide to sell – which is by no means certain – three bidders are in the running: Comcast Corporation, whose unsolicited $40 billion offer for the business over the summer sparked the bidding war [WAMN: 09-Jul-01]; AOL Time Warner, owner of the second-largest US cable-television group; and Cox Communications.

Lurking behind Cox and Comcast is Microsoft, which has offered its support to the two bids in an attempt to frustrate AOL TW [WAMN: 04-Dec-01].

Criteria board members are said to be applying to the offers are price, management structure, strategic fit and the chances of meeting regulatory opposition. They may yet decide to retain the business as part of AT&T, though one source said they were willing to sell if it is “in the best long-term interest of shareholders.”

Nothing is known of the details of the bids, which were still being finalised last night. However, a sale is expected to net AT&T upwards of $40bn.

Watch this space.

News source: Wall Street Journal