Cablevision Posts Profit on Asset Swaps

Tuesday, August 9th 2005, 9:46 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Cablevision Systems Corp., a New York-area cable TV provider, swung to a profit in the second quarter on gains related to the restructuring of several regional sports networks.

Cablevision, which also owns Madison Square Garden and the sports teams that play there, earned $222 million, or 77 cents per share, in the three months ending in June, compared with a loss of $187.1 million, or 65 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

Revenues rose 6 percent to $1.23 billion from $1.16 billion.

Cablevision recorded $332 million in gains from a deal it announced in February in which it restructured its part ownership of six regional sports networks with News Corp., the media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch.

Excluding the gains, Cablevision had a loss from continuing operations of 6 cents per share, much smaller than the loss of 12 cents per share that Wall Street analysts had been expecting, according to Thomson Financial.

Cablevision's shares fell 45 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $30.98 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The multi-part asset swap left News Corp. with full ownership of Fox Sports Net as well as regional sports cable networks in Ohio and Florida. Cablevision exited the deal with full ownership of Madison Square Garden and several related properties.

Excluding the effects of several one-time payments in the year-ago period, revenues were off 3 percent at Madison Square Garden, where the New York Rangers play, due partly to the NHL lockout this year.

Cablevision's controlling shareholders, the Dolan family, announced in June that they planned to take the company private while also spinning off its cable channels AMC, IFC and WE into a new company called Rainbow Media Holdings. That company will also include several regional sports networks and Madison Square Garden.

Cablevision reported continued growth in its digital phone service, adding 114,000 customers in the most recent period. It also added more than 20,000 basic subscribers and 79,000 high-speed Internet customers.

Cablevision has been among the most successful cable companies at signing up customers for premium services like high-speed Internet access, digital cable and voice-over-Internet phone service.

For the first six months of the year, Cablevision posted a net profit of $103.1 million, or 36 cents per share, compared with a loss of $307.1 million, or $1.07 per share, in the first half of last year. Six-month revenues rose 6 percent to $2.45 billion.