Cablevision makes nice with Wall Street

Cablevision took its dog and pony show to Wall Street for three days this week to try and schmooze investors who’ve become increasingly disenchanted--and more militantly vocal--about the direction the high-profile cableco has taken in recent months. It was the first time King, er, CEO James Dolan has tried to charm investors in recent memory.

The big surprises? One, Cablevision’s junta appeared willing to listen to ideas on how to maintain recent increases in the company’s mercurial share price. Two, after a $650 million deal to acquire fellow Long Island media heavy Newsday, Cablevision plans to put its merger team on hold—for awhile. In addition to the Newsday buy, it also dropped $500 million on the Sundance Channel.

Cablevision management spun both buys as "unique opportunities,” one investor told the Wall Street Journal. “The company indicated they don't plan on making further forays into the news business or other large acquisitions.”

Cablevision’s largest outside shareholders include: Gamco Investments, Mario Gabelli’s investment firm; ClearBridge Advisors, which is a unit of Legg Mason; and T. Rowe Price. Gabelli has been after Dolan and Cablevision to spin off some of its assets. Prime candidates include its Rainbow cable network and Madison Square Garden. Management now says it will consider selling either or both assets, along with declaring a dividend, buying back shares and spinning off other assets.

For more:
- Check out the Wall Street Journal story