Providence Receives Seven Bids for Bresnan Communications

NEW YORK/PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Bresnan Communications, majority-owned by private equity firm Providence Equity Partners, has received seven bids of more than $1 billion as an auction for the cable television company progresses, a source familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

Bidders included Cablevision Systems Corp (CVC.N), Suddenlink Communications and media mogul John Malone, said the source, who declined to be named because the talks were private. Bids for Bresnan were due on Wednesday, two sources said.

As the financing markets and economy have improved over the past year, buyout firms have been able to strike deals again. The credit crisis and continuing market volatility has meant private equity firms have had difficulty selling or floating investments, and exiting some assets has taken longer than the typical period of 3 to 5 years that firms generally target.

Still, dealflow has been increasing with recent deals agreed including Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (GS.N) private equity unit’s $1.7 billion deal to buy food supplier Michael Foods from Thomas H. Lee Partners THL.UL.

Providence invested in Bresnan in 2003. The company’s other owners include Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O).

Bresnan, which was founded in 1984, provides communications services such as high-speed Internet access, high-definition television, video-on-demand, and digital telephone to residential and business customers.

Bresnan serves more than 320,000 customers in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah, according to its website. The company’s auction follows last year’s death of founder William Bresnan.

Providence, Bresnan, Suddenlink and Malone could not be immediately reached for comment. Cablevision declined to comment. (Reporting by Megan Davies and Jessica Hall; Editing by Gary Hill, Bernard Orr)