Cablevision Reportedly Bidding for Adelphia

Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC) has made a $16.5 billion all-cash offer for the assets of Adelphia Communications Corp. (search) , shaking up the sale process for the bankrupt cable TV company, newspapers reported in Wednesday's editions.

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter, said the Bethpage, N.Y.-based company submitted the bid on its own and not with a pair of private equity investors also said to be interested in Adelphia.

Spokesmen for Cablevision and Adelphia both declined to comment.

Cablevision's shares fell 97 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $26.86 in active trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange (search), easing further off its 52-week high of $31.64.

The shares had been rising in recent months on expectations that the company was considering putting itself up for sale, but its apparent interest in Adelphia got investors worried that the company would be burdening itself with a heavy debt load.

Earlier reports had indicated that Cablevision was considering joining the bid put together by the private equity investment firms Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts Co. (search) and Providence Equity Partners.

Cablevision would be facing a rival joint bid for Adelphia from the two leading cable TV companies, Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc., which the Journal valued at $17.6 billion in cash and stock.

The reported bid comes even as Cablevision Chairman Charles Dolan and his son, James, have been at odds over the fate of Cablevision's satellite-television service, Voom.

Charles Dolan wants to develop Voom as a third satellite rival to EchoStar's DISH network and The DirecTV Group Inc. But Cablevision CEO James Dolan and the board favor closing Voom, which has suffered deep losses since starting up.

Cablevision has has agreed to delay a shutdown of Voom to give Dolan more time to arrange financing to buy what's left of Voom and keep the business alive.