Thwarted in its attempt to acquire the company outright, Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) management is getting serious about finding ways to lift the company's sagging share price. CEO Jim Dolan indicated on last week's conference call that it would explore stock buybacks and dividends as possible means of getting a lift. The company now says its board has officially authorized the company to explore a spin-off of one or more of its businesses. Although the core cable business continues to perform well, investors have punished the company for sticking its fingers into too many pies (Sundance Channel, Newsday). Similar to the longtime knock on Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA), management is perceived as being spendthrift with shareholder cash (Comcast eventually instituted a dividend to help combat this perception). Release.
Were Cablevision to do a spinoff, a sale of its Rainbow Media holdings is the most obvious candidate (Pali's Rich Greenfield said in a recent note that the book was already circulating for the unit). The unit's networks inclue IFC, Sundance, We, and AMC. One note on AMC: Though the network has a hit on its hands with Mad Men, management said on the call that it wasn't expecting any major lift from the show at this point, either through ads or DVDs.
Shares of Cablevision are up over 6 percent in early trading to $27.65.
By Joseph Weisenthal