March bow for TWC common stock


NEW YORK -- Shares of Time Warner Cable will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange as early as March 1, the company said Tuesday, as Adelphia Communications confirmed that its long-delayed bankruptcy plan finally has come into effect.

The news comes a day after the Adelphia plan took its final big hurdle and at a time when Wall Street observers have become more bullish on cable stocks after several years of competitive concerns.

Indeed, the triple-play product bundle last year boosted many cable operators' ability to retain and attract basic cable subscribers and also lifted cable stocks.

TWC, the second-largest U.S. cable operator, said Tuesday that it has become a public company, with its Class A common stock to be listed on the NYSE under ticker symbol "TWC" in the coming weeks.

The shares have been trading on a "when-issued" basis this year under the symbol "TWCAV." TW will retain an 84% stake in TWC.

Adelphia received shares of TWC Class A stock at the end of July as part of the payment for cable systems that TW together with Comcast Corp. bought from Adelphia. Those shares will be distributed by Adelphia to its creditors, as laid out by its Chapter 11 bankruptcy emergence plan, starting within days.

Overall, Adelphia will distribute $17 billion in cash and stock to its creditors.

TW said Tuesday that it has withdrawn a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a formal initial public offering, which it had pursued as a second option to getting its shares listed. Analysts have said an IPO would have been a somewhat more expensive and involved way because it would have included an investor roadshow.

"Becoming a public company is the latest step in creating a Time Warner Cable with greater scale, improved subscriber clusters, stronger growth opportunities and enhanced strategic flexibility," TWC president and CEO Glenn Britt said. "Our aggressive integration efforts of the newly acquired systems are ongoing, and we're making progress toward preparing these systems to offer Time Warner Cable's advanced services."

TW chairman and CEO Richards Parsons, in a memo to TW staff obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, also struck bullish tones. "With its popular products and services, I'm confident that Time Warner Cable is well positioned to compete successfully and build value for both Time Warner and Time Warner Cable shareholders," he said.

Parsons also said that few things will change in the interaction between the different parts of TW. "In terms of our daily dealings with Time Warner Cable, however, there should be very little change, because all of our divisions have been doing business with Time Warner Cable on an "arms-length" basis."

Adelphia filed for bankruptcy in 2002 after unveiling off-balance sheet debt that led Adelphia founder John Rigas and his son Timothy to be convicted of fraud and sentenced to prison terms. They remain free pending appeals.

TW shares closed up 1.6% on Tuesday at $21.50. They have traded between $15.70 and $23.15 during the past year.
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