Telecommunications firm announces plans to buy regional cable provider

One of the largest telecommunications companies in the United States has announced plans to purchase a regional provider of cable television, Internet and telephone services.

Charter Communications has reached an agreement with Cablevision Systems Corp. to acquire Optimum West for $1.6 billion in cash.

Optimism West provides Optimum-branded cable television, Internet and telephone services to a total of more than 366,000 customers in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. Cablevision purchased what was previously Bresnan Communications more than two years ago for $1.37 billion.

“With this transaction, Charter will acquire some of the fastest-growing cable assets in the United States,” said Tom Rutledge, president and chief executive officer of Charter. “These former Bresnan properties operate in growing communities, and the network, employees and customer base have been well served for many years.”

Rutledge oversaw operations of the Bresnan properties when he served as chief operating officer of Cablevision. He took over as Charter CEO last year.

“Optimum West is an ideal fit for Charter, and we anticipate an efficient integration process,” Rutledge added.

James Dolan, president and CEO of Cablevision, said he was proud of the value added to Optimum West properties over the past two years. “We made strategic investments in the cable system and significantly enhanced the network to provide our customers with more robust products and services. I am confident that our Optimum West team will continue to build on that success under new stewardship.”

Optimum West cable systems pass by a total of more than 660,000 homes in the four states and serve 304,000 video subscribers.

With the sale, Cablevision is expected to concentrate on its operations in the Northeast, where the company serves a total of about 3 million subscribers in four states.

Charter plans to fund the acquisition with $1.5 billion of committed bank financing, cash on hand and revolving credit. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the third quarter.

Headquartered in St. Louis, Charter Communications operates one of the largest cable systems in the United States in offering high-speed Internet, telephone and video entertainment services to a total of 5 million customers in 25 states. The company employs nearly 17,000 people.

A Fortune 500 company, Charter is publicly traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market.