Taking Cablevision Private

New York cable clan the Dolan family made a leveraged bid October 8th to take Cablevision and its holdings private, offering $27 a share for the company.

The deal includes a $7.9 billion cash up-front offer, and the family will assume an $11.3 billion debt, securing commitments for financing from Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns.

Cablevision Systems lists Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers in its holdings.

A previous bid by the family in June 2005 attempted to buy out Cablevision and divest it from the entertainment assets, producing a new public company that would encompass the sports teams, venues and several cable networks. At that time, the Dolans offered $21 a share for Cablevision. The bid was eventually withdrawn amid calls from Cablevision’s board for higher offers, The New York Times reported.

Many family-owned companies have gone private recently, in a trend that finds Wall Street willing to finance the massive debts needed for such undertakings. By going private, companies can also bypass the scrutiny of investors and regulatory inspections.

The Dolans said in a letter to the Cablevision Board that taking the company private was the best option to succeed in times of increased competition.

“We continue to feel that succeeding in this fiercely competitive environment requires a long term, entrepreneurial management perspective that is not constrained by the public markets’ constant focus on short-term results,” the family said. “We are convinced that private ownership is highly desirable, and we are willing to assume the risks of full ownership.”

Cablevision has been in talks to build a new Madison Square Garden and has a tentative agreement to do so in a $3 billion development deal that would include a new train station, offices and shops.