Time Warner and its expedient ally, US number one cable company Comcast, could be playing against a new bidder in the auction for Adelphia Communications.

Cablevision, America's seventh largest cable operator, is said to be in talks with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Providence Equity Partners over plans to hitch its wagon to their offer for the troubled Adelphia.

Adelphia, currently operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, is seeking around $17 billion (€13bn, £9bn) in cash from prospective purchasers. Until now the TW/Comcast joint venture has been favourite to win, although its $12bn cash plus $5.6bn stock offer is not exactly to Adelphia's taste.

A new group, including Cablevision, would make a "substantially higher" offer and would merge the two cable companies to create a national operator with 8.4 million subscribers, say executives.

Family-run Cablevision is undergoing upheaval at the moment as father and son head honchos, Charles and James Dolan, feud over the company's struggling Voom satellite venture [WAMN: 16-Mar-05].

Adelphia itself has muddied the waters around the auction by offering to settle with the Securities and Exchange Commission to extricate itself from bankruptcy. If successful, it could decide to remove itself from the saleroom completely [WAMN: 29-Mar-05].

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff