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MediaOne swings profit

Asset selloff boosts cash flow, revs

NEW YORK — Cabler MediaOne Group, now in the process of merging with AT&T Corp., said Tuesday it swung to a profit of $106 million in the latest third quarter from a $197 million loss a year ago — due mainly to a net gain of $581 million on sales of investments.

Operating cash flow rose 14% to $220 million and revenue rose 8% to $675 million.

The company’s 25.5% stake in Time Warner Entertainment, its cable and entertainment partnership with Time Warner Inc., produced pro-forma earnings for the period of $232 million — up 10% from the year before. Its TWE revenue rose 9% to $886 million.

That arrangement is likely to be unraveled at some point in the not-too-distant future since Time Warner wants control of entertainment assets that include Warner Bros. and HBO, and MediaOne badly wants to close its deal with AT&T. MediaOne has already surrendered its management rights over the venture to Time Warner in connection with the AT&T merger.

Merger moves on

MediaOne CEO Chuck Lillis said he’s pleased with the merger preparations. His shareholders have approved the deal and the FCC has somewhat loosened restrictions on cable ownership, which will make it easier for the controversial combination to pass regulators.

MediaOne Intl. has sold off interests in 11 companies for about $11 billion. They include a stake in U.K. wireless operator One 2 One, Telewest and wireless interests in central Europe and Russia.

The company had nearly 8.5 million cable subscribers as of Sept. 30. It said it has added 73,000 video, telephony and high-speed data subscribers since the end of June on upgraded systems and has 42,000 telephone and 173,000 high-speed data customers.

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