Cox, TCI sign swap agreement
By Alison Boggs
Spokane’s cable television customers could be paying their bills to a different company by the end of the year.
Whether those bills will be higher or lower remains to be seen.
TCI will take over Cox’s systems in Spokane, Pittsburgh, Springfield, Ill., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Saginaw, Mich. Cox will get TCI’s holdings in Bellevue/La Vista, Neb., Council Bluffs, Iowa, Chesapeake, Va., Scottsdale, Ariz., North Attleboro/Taunton, Mass., Lincoln, R.I., and St. Bernard, La.
Spokane’s Cox customers shouldn’t notice any immediate changes in programming or rates when TCI takes over, LaRae Marsik of TCI, said Monday.
Marsik also said that under transfers such as this one, the new company usually inherits the employees of the old company.
“Employees can expect minimal disruption,” she said.
The transaction, which was announced late in 1995, should take effect by the end of the year, pending regulatory approval. The deal aims to more densely concentrate each company’s holdings.
“Signing this agreement represents a significant step toward achieving our clustering goals,” said Jimmy Hayes, Cox’s chief financial officer. “Each of the systems we will receive are in locations where we already have a significant presence.”
Each company will receive about 300,000 new customers in areas where they have heavy concentrations. Cable companies need large concentrations of customers to offer low-cost services.
The deal must be approved both by the Federal Communications Commission and Spokane city and county governments.
TCI is the nation’s largest cable company with about 12 million subscribers. Cox is fifth, with about 3.2 million.
Tuesday, August 20, 1996