Title II threat spooked cable investors, says Suddenlink's Kent

The threat of a Title II "potential bomb" was enough to stop a mini-resurgence of cable stocks, Suddenlink Communications Chairman-CEO Jerry Kent said during a conference call explaining and defending the company's $350 million acquisition of NPG Cable from News-Press Gazette Co.

"The stocks last year really started taking off and had a lot of wind in their sales until there was this Title II potential bomb that was thrown on the landscape and I think that's created a lot of uncertainty," Kent said.

Kent was in the process of defending the purchase, which breaks down to about $4,200 per basic cable customer and $1,670 per revenue generating unit (RGU), numbers that Kent said are in line with what Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), Knology (Nasdaq: KNOL) and Shenandoah (Nasdaq: SHEN) have paid in recent acquisitions, when he laid into the public stock market's perception of cable values.

"I think the public market is totally missing it. The bond market has a better appreciation of the predictability, the stability and the future growth potential of cable systems in general," he said.

He also said that despite "other acquisition opportunities in the marketplace" now and in the future, Suddenlink will take its time digesting NPG and making it part of its advanced Project Imagine program to expand broadband and video capabilities via DOCSIS 3.0.

"Right now the only thing our board has approved going forward is this acquisition. That could change in the future, but that's what we're focused on," he said.

For more:
- listen to this conference call

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Suddenlink buys NPG Cable for $350 million
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FCC's Genachowski charts way forward on net neutrality

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