After considering bids for Rainbow Programming's entertainment networks, Cablevision Systems Chairman Chuck Dolan said he planned to proceed with a shareholder meeting scheduled Friday to go through with Plan A, spinning Rainbow off as a tracking stock.
Dolan, who attended Waller Capital Corp.'s Telecom 2001 conference in New York, would not specifically say that the networks would not be sold, insisting that "anything can happen", but said that he does not expect to again delay the shareholder meeting that has been put off three times since he decided to put American Movie Classics, Bravo and other networks on the block.
Despite luring offers from Viacom and USA Network that valued the operation around $3.8 billion and 22-25 times cash flow, Dolan is looking to proceed with the tracking stock, which would have the entertainment networks plus part of Rainbow's regional sports networks tied to a separate share of stock but still controlled by Cablevision.
Dolan controls a majority of the shareholder votes, so the tracking stock will be created if he alone wants it. Dolan was always seen as a reluctant seller and is always regarded as maddening in a negotiation. - John Higgins