Cablers eye Excite exit

Netco to explore financial options

Big cablers Comcast and Cox said Friday they plan to yank Excite@Home from their cable systems next summer — that is, if the beleaguered high-speed Internet service provider doesn’t go belly up before then.

Comcast and Cox both own about 7% of Excite@Home, which is drowning in red ink. Its stock closed Friday at 42¢ and risks being delisted from the Nasdaq. The company is majority owned by AT&T.

Excite@Home also was facing a demand from Promethean Investment Group to repay $50 million it lent Excite earlier this year. However, on Friday Promethean said it would hold off on attempting to collect the money. The financial company claims Excite violated terms of the loan pact. Excite denies the charge and says it won’t pay. Even so, it’s not clear the company has enough cash to keep running through the end of the year.

Excite said it plans to hire an adviser to explore its financial options.

Comcast, worried by Excite@Home’s financial woes, said it had exercised an exit provision in its contract to protect its customers and shareholders.

Cox said it was moving to take greater control of its own network.

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