According to Reuters, United States cableco Insight Communications, which is controlled by private equity group Carlyle Group, has put itself up for sale. Insight is believed to have hired the Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and UBS to run the auction process after ‘a competitive series of banker meetings’. One source, who wished to remain unnamed, claimed that Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems, Charter Communications and Suddenlink Communications have all been invited to participate in the auction, alongside a number of other private equity firms such as Providence Equity Partners and the Blackstone Group, both of whom are known to be interested in building their portfolios of cable assets.
Carlyle bought Insight Communications for USD2.1 billion, including debt, in December 2005, in a management-led leveraged buyout. However, just two years later, Carlyle put the company up for sale, only to call off the process in late 2007 due to unfavourable credit conditions. In April 2010 Insight announced that an investor group led by Crestview Partners and MidOcean Partners had purchased a ‘significant equity position’ in the cableco from existing shareholders, including Carlyle, meaning that Carlyle and the new shareholders group each hold an equity interest of around 42% in Insight.
Insight claims to be the tenth largest cable operator in the United States, serving around 750,000 customers in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. Of these customer relationships, at end-December 2010, 525,000 were believed to be broadband subscribers.