Cablevision’s rating still negative

SEC, internal probes hinder company's financial actions

NEW YORK — Cablevision may be stuck in the credit dog house for a little longer as ratings agency Standard & Poor’s on Friday extended its credit watch with negative implications rating on roughly $7 billion in corporate debt.

Cablevision is currently the subject of both internal and Securities and Exchange Commission accounting reviews, which have delayed company’s ability to sign off on its quarterly government filings and raised questions about financial risk going forward.

Company has a corporate credit rating of BB, but the negative implication on S&P’s rating could hinder Cablevision’s ability to spin off its nascent Rainbow DBS satellite arm and Clearview Cinema chain as planned.

Cablevision bonds were first placed on credit watch last month, after the company received a subpoena by the SEC July 9 following revelations about improper expense accounting at its AMC channel. Cablevision earlier this month disclosed additional improperly recognized expenses at the original production units within AMC and sister net WE: Women’s Entertainment.

While S&P noted that “the total discrepancies reported by Cablevision do not appear to be material to date,” agency said it cannot currently quantify the potential impact of the investigations nor can it predict whether the review will extend beyond issues already raised.

On Aug. 5 auditor KPMG disclosed that it could not finish its review of Cablevision’s second quarter financials due to the pending investigation by the audit committee. The SEC could rule the company’s quarterly filings deficient without KPMG’s sign-off.