Cablevision Goes Private

NEW YORK After several failed attempts, the Dolan family finally is on track to take private cable operator Cablevision Systems, which it controls, in a sweetened $10.6 billion transaction.

News of an agreement on the deal boosted Cablevision shares to new heights Wednesday. The stock was up 8 percent at $35.30 in midday trading. Its previous 52-week high stood at $33.

While the Dolan family controls a majority of Cablevision, the company said a majority of other shareholders must also approve the proposed deal.

The cable firm confirmed market talk of a deal early Wednesday, saying it has reached a definitive sale agreement with an entity created by the Dolans for $36.26 per share in cash. The transaction implies an enterprise value of approximately $22 billion, according to Cablevision.

The agreement is a result of what the company said were “extensive negotiations” between the Dolans and a special transaction committee of independent directors of Cablevision, which had rejected previous buyout offers.

Based on the recommendation of the committee, Cablevision’s board has already approved the transaction, the company said.

The buyout price of $36.26 per share represents a 34 percent premium compared to the Dolans’ $27 a share offer from October, a 21 percent premium to its $30 per share offer from January and more than a 50 percent premium to Cablevision’s closing price before the original October bid.

Chairman Charles Dolan and son and CEO James Dolan on Wednesday lauded the company’s track record of delivering “quality service and innovative products” to customers. “We believe the best way to continue this tradition in today’s increasingly competitive environment is as a privately held company,” they added. “This new structure and an entrepreneurial perspective will enable us to keep growing the business with our talented management team and dedicated employees.”

In the proposed transaction, the Dolans will contribute approximately $2.1 billion in equity through a reinvestment of their Cablevision shares in the new privately held company. Investment banks have committed to provide about $15.5 billion in debt financing to fund the deal.