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08-11-04 Local cable company expected to sell this year

By Timothy Cox

  The bankrupt Adelphia Communications Corp. is expected to be sold by the end of the year.

  Adelphia has been the cable television provider in Celina, Coldwater, St. Henry and Montezuma, since the then-rowing company acquired FrontierVision in 1999. FrontierVision had operated locally for just 18 months.
  Adelphia's new financial advisers, UBS Investment Bank and Allen & Co., are guiding Adelphia's board of directors through the sale process. The advisers are dealing with potential bidders for Adelphia's assets and the sale process is expected to begin after Labor Day, a news release from the company says.
  The company is accepting bids -- subject to the bankruptcy court's approval -- for the entire company or for selected clusters. Potential bidders will have until October to express interest in buying all or part of the company.
  "In an effort to build the greatest possible value for the Adelphia Chapter 11 bankruptcy estate, we announced April 22 that Adelphia would consider the sale of the company," Adelphia chairman and CEO Bill Schleyer said in a company statement. "Since then, we have been working diligently to assemble the appropriate advisers, information and documents needed for a robust and fair sales process to maximize the value of Adelphia to the company's stakeholders."  Adelphia's stock prices collapsed amid allegations in 2002 that members of the company's founding family were improperly manipulating company finances. Adelphia's stock closed as high as $20.39 in March 2002 before tumbling to a closing price of just 79 cents per share in June 2002.
  Adelphia stock closed Tuesday at 26 cents per share.
  Adelphia, the nation's fifth-largest cable television provider, has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings since June 2002 when members of the Rigas family were accused of wrongdoing in piling up more than $2 billion in improper loans from company coffers. Founder John Rigas and one of his sons were found guilty last month on 17 counts of bank fraud in federal court. Another son was acquitted of conspiracy charges and jurors deadlocked on the fraud charges against him.
  The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) also is pursuing a civil complaint against Adelphia and the Rigas family. SEC officials charge that Adelphia officials fraudulently concealed more than $2.3 billion in debt and "regularly misstated in press releases, including earnings reports and SEC filings," its number of cable subscribers, the extent of its nationwide rebuild of its system and its earnings. The SEC complaint also accuses Rigas family members of "rampant self-dealing" in using company funds to pay for vacation homes and to build a golf course.
  Adelphia became a major player in the cable television world in 1999 when in the span of four months it acquired FrontierVision, Century Communications and Harron Communications for a total of $8.5 billion. Those acquisitions doubled Adelphia's subscriber base and made it one of the nation's largest cable providers.


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