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TCI deals shrink debt

Cable giant's stock up 43 cents on news

NEW YORK — Cable giant Tele-Communications Inc. will reduce its debt by $910 million as a result of the latest partnership deal signed Friday with Blackstone Capital Partners and Bresnan Communications.

As with several other partnerships already closed, TCI will transfer systems serving 400,000 customers into the partnership, offloading the debt at the same time, while Bresnan will transfer systems with 215,000 subscribers. TCI will emerge with 50% of the partnership while Blackstone will put in cash to get 40% and Bresnan will end up with 10% and management responsibility.

TCI’s debt at the end of the March quarter was $13.4 billion so the deal will reduce it to $12.5 billion. But the cabler is negotiating dozens more such partnership deals, it said last month, that together with the Blackstone partnership would transfer $3.7 billion in debt from its balance sheet.

The systems in the Bresnan partnership are in Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Bresnan president William Bresnan said in a statement that Bresnan’s “traditional emphasis on markets in the upper Midwest …will provide geographic and operational advantages that speed the deployment of new products and services to customers in the months and years ahead.”

TCI stock rose 43¢ to $33.87 Friday.