Stock offering fuels Jones

NEW YORK — Jones Intercable Inc.’s decision to tap the stock market for $95 million will help fund Jones’ latest acquisition of one of its managed cable systems, rounding out a two-year restructuring effort, it said in an SEC filing Wednesday.

In a spate of deals, Jones has been transformed from a manager of cable systems owned by outsiders to an owner of its cable systems clustered in the Virginia/Maryland area as well as parts of the South and the Southwest; this positions Jones to compete better in a cable industry where geographic clustering is seen as all-important.

Since June 1995, Jones has increased the proportion of subscribers in company-owned systems from 23% to 62% and that proportion will grow after the offering, which is designed to help finance a $171 million acquisition of a cable system in Independence, Mo.

Jones has also committed to acquire a system in New Mexico for $223 million, funded by the company’s credit lines. Eventually, people close to the company say, it will have 1 million subscribers in company-owned systems compared to just 200,000 a couple of years ago.

At that time Jones had 1.3 million subscribers in 30 different partnerships which, aside from anything else, made the company’s structure very difficult for outsiders to understand.

The stock offering also takes advantage of the recent run-up in Jones’ stock price, part of a rally among most cabler stocks. Since May, Jones’ stock has jumped from $9.25 to Wednesday’s price of $12.62 (unchanged from Tuesday).

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