Charter stock stirs as Allen floats loan

Shares moved up 7.5% to end the day at $3.00

NEW YORK — Shares of cash-strapped cabler Charter Communications got a boost Friday as reports surfaced that the company’s directors were seeking approval from bank creditors for a $300 million loan from billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

At the same time, shareholders awaited an impending decision from rival cable giant Comcast on its option to sell its interest in a Comcast-Charter joint venture back to Charter for about $700 million. One analyst noted that Charter may be negotiating for a delay or at least better terms on the put option.

Charter shares moved ahead 7.5% to end the day at $3.00. Stock has tumbled from highs above $8 over the past 12 months as worries over debt and financial performance became more pronounced.

Allen, who controls 55% of the St. Louis-based cable giant, offered the loan in early April to help the company avoid breaking the covenants on its existing debt. At the time Charter said it would set up a special committee to examine the mogul’s offer.

Charter reps were not immediately available to comment about Friday’s developments.

Company has been struggling with a $19 billion debt load, financial losses and regulatory attention over possible accounting improprieties. Earlier this year, Charter was forced to restate its financial results by nearly $300 million over the past three years.

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