Tom Rutledge liked what he bought so much he bought it back. As COO of Cablevision, he helped oversee the purchase of Bresnan Communications cable
systems. Now, as CEO of Charter, he’s inked a deal to buy the operations from Cablevision for $1.6 billion.
Cablevision, which has its core business in the greater New York area, had re-branded the Bresnan operations, which include about 300,000 video customers in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, as Optimum West.
Cablevision had purchased Bresnan in 2010 for some $1.4 billion. “While it has not been our intention to divest this valuable asset, based on the approaches that we received, we have decided to explore a potential transaction,” Cablevision CEO James Dolan said last year.
The Bresnan system added a slight number of video customers in the July-September period last year, as cable operators struggle to hold onto them. For example,
Charter’s residential number declined 4% in the same quarter to about 4 million.
The deal gives Charter a presence in the Mountain West. It has the most “customer relationships” in Michigan, a heavy presence in the Southeast and a sizable business in California.
Rutledge helped bring the Optimum brand to Cablevision, and it’s likely to be gone on the newly acquired systems. Rutledge has been asked many times whether he would undertake a re-branding at Charter, but hasn’t shown much enthusiasm about the prospect.