Dolans in talks again to go private

Cablevision negotiations still not complete

NEW YORK — The Dolan family, which controls Cablevision Systems Corp., was in advanced talks Tuesday in another attempt to take the company private, according to a published report.

The parties were close to a deal, but negotiations had not been completed, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night on its Web site, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

A Cablevision spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

The family led by James L. Dolan, Cablevision’s chief executive, and his father Charles F. Dolan, the chairman, have made at least two earlier offers to buy the company.

The latest was rejected in January when a two-person committee of independent Cablevision directors said the Dolans’ offer of $30 per share, valuing the company at $8.9 billion, was inadequate. At the time, the Dolans said that offer represented their final bid.

Cablevision shares have risen since the Dolans’ January offer. They closed Tuesday down 11¢ to $32.67 on the New York Stock Exchange before jumping $3.58, or 11%, to $36.25 in after-hours trading on news of the new talks.

Bethpage-based Cablevision provides cable TV and digital telephone service to 3 million customers in the New York metropolitan area. Its holdings also include Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks basketball team and the New York Rangers hockey team, along with Radio City Music Hall, the Clearview Cinemas movie theater chain and a group of cable channels including IFC, AMC and WE: Women’s Entertainment.

The Dolans control the shareholder vote of Cablevision through a special class of stock, meaning they could quash any competing bid for control, but the company’s directors have a legal obligation to make sure any going-private transaction would be fair to public shareholders.

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