×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Euro cabler topper ankles

Schneider's surprise exit comes as cabler posts record losses

AMSTERDAM — United Pan-Europe Communications chairman-CEO Mark Schneider resigned Tuesday as the giant cabler posted a hefty $1.3 billion loss for the first half and said it’s planning to lay off up to 1,500 workers by the end of the year.

Schneider, 46, who’s been helming the company for five years and helped take it public, said he wants to spend more time with his family in the U.S.

UPC will look both inhouse and outside for his replacement, who will face a company with a decimated stock price and a heavy debt load from acquisitions and investment in new services. The new CEO will also be seeing a lot of John Malone when Denver-based Liberty Media closes on a deal that will give it control of UPC’s parent, UnitedGlobalCom.

Schneider has agreed to stay on until a successor is found and will also become a member of UPC’s advisory board. Schneider has helped lead UPC from its founding in 1995 as a joint venture between Philips Electronics and UnitedGlobalCom, which is also based in Denver.

UnitedGlobalCom, which is run by Schneider’s father, Gene Schneider, later bought out Philips and took UPC public in 1999.

UPC’s revenue for the first six months of the year surged 58% to $620 million, which execs called unprecedented growth.

Over the past year, however, UPC’s stock has dropped 95% in value and risks being delisted. Its debt swelled to nearly $8 billion, largely due to Schneider’s ambitious acquisition program, which built UPC into Europe’s largest cabler.

The exec sought to add subscribers by buying up cable systems in 17 territories across Europe. UPC now accounts for more than 10% of the European cable market with over 7 million customers. Cable revenue rose to $523 million from $366 million. Sales for content and services, which include broadband Internet service provider Chello, tripled to $188 million.

But UPC has $3.6 billion in loans tied to hitting performance targets, and the slow uptake of its digital TV platform has analysts worried.

The company launched its digital service last October and so far has only 42,000 subs. It will roll out in Holland, Austria, France, Sweden and Norway next month with a target of 250,000 subs by the end of 2001. But UPC has begun backpedaling on its target, emphasizing that it will not sacrifice quality for reach.

UPC shares fell 2.7% in New York trading Tuesday to $1.08.

Parent UnitedGlobalCom sank 2.5% to $6.21. Besides UPC, UnitedGlobalCom owns cabler Austar United Communications in Australia and New Zealand, and VTR GlobalCom, the largest broadband communications provider in Chile.

The company’s revenue rose to $794 million from $5584 million in the first half. Net losses ballooned to $1.5 billion from $531 million.

(Erich Boehm in London and Jill Goldsmith in New York contributed to this report.)

More Biz

  • Jussie Smollett Good Morning America

    Jussie Smollett Angrily Denies Complicity in Attack

    Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett issued a statement Saturday denying that he orchestrated his Jan. 29 assault, and saying he is “angered” and “devastated” by recent developments in the case. Chicago police want to interview Smollett, after learning new evidence from two Nigerian brothers who were released on Friday night. Local media outlets have [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • Colin Kaepernick Kneel

    Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid Reach Settlement With NFL

    Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, two football players who alleged the National Football League colluded to oust them from the game after they started kneeling in protest of racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem, have reached a settlement in the matter, according to a statement from the sports organization and lawyers representing [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Could Be in ‘Big Trouble’ Over Alleged New Sex Tape, Attorney Says

    Strong allegations of sexual misconduct have followed R. Kelly for 25 years, but the singer has always managed to slip free. Yet reports that a videotape of him sexually assaulting an underage girl, combined with the outcry surrounding the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” means that public sentiment, at the very least, is definitely not [...]

  • Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in

    New Media Residuals and Feature Films Contribute to Spike in Writers' Pay

    The outlook for members of the Writers Guild of America has brightened — even amid pervasive uncertainty in the entertainment industry. According to the most recent report to WGA West members, earnings surged 2.8% to $1.41 billion in 2017, thanks mostly to gains in feature films and new-media residuals. Total covered earnings for WGA West [...]

  • Joe Dante Gremlins

    Hollywood Execs Seek Licensing Deals at the New York Toy Fair

    On Feb. 16 more than 30,000 studio executives, buyers and toy company reps will gather in Manhattan for the annual Toy Fair New York, all vying for market share and trying to snag the latest hot trend in a fast-changing industry. Those working the film side of the business will focus much of their attention [...]

  • Lady Gaga Bradley Cooper A Star

    Universal Music Group Fuels 11.3% Rise in Vivendi's 2018 Revenues

    Vivendi’s revenues were up 11.3% to €13.93 billion ($15.7 billion) in 2018, powered by Universal Music Group, which delivered such hits as the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack and Drake’s new album. UMG’s revenues climbed by 10% to €6 billion ($6.8 billion) compared to 2017. On top of the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content