The hoped-for sale of bankrupt Adelphia Communications, America's fifth largest cable operator, is unlikely to be inked before April 2005 - if at all, admits ceo Wiliam Schleyer.

Hitherto the closing date for offers was January but potential buyers are apparently in no hurry to declare their hands. Schleyer now says the deadline is extended to the end of February.

Addressing the UBS Annual Media Week conference in New York, Schleyer told the assembled bettors and oracles: "If we don't sell the company, we're out of bankruptcy in the second half of 2005. If we sell the company, it probably closes in the fourth quarter."

Adelphia has 5.3 million basic-cable customers in thirty-one states and is looking for upward of $17 billion for its assets. But potential punter Time Warner - which may bid singly or in concert with Comcast - is playing it cool.

Referring to TW's pullout from the MGM auction earlier this year, ceo Richard Parsons said: "We're applying the same investment principles and discipline."

Data sourced from USA Today Online; additional content by WARC staff