Cox Buys Las Vegas Cable
May. 05, 1998
ATLANTA (AP) _ Cox Communications Inc. is buying the cable TV system that serves Las Vegas as part of a larger deal valued at $1.33 billion, the company said Tuesday.
The acquisition of Prime South Diversified Inc. gives Cox, among other things, the cable system that serves 319,000 customers; Hospitality Network Inc., which provides movies and other services to hotel rooms on a global basis; and PrimeTel of Nevada, a provider of telephone, data and TV services to apartment buildings.
``It is a substantial amount of money,'' said Cox president and chief executive Jim Robbins. ``But it is in pursuit of a premium property and because of the growth this system represents.''
Cox bought the company from representatives of the Greenspun family, which started the system in 1970. The Greenspuns will continue to hold a 20 percent interest in the cable company, but part-owner Prime Cable was bought out in the purchase.
The deal also gives Cox a 35 percent stake in NextLink Nevada, a company that provides telephone services to businesses in the Las Vegas area. And, it gives Cox a 33 percent stake in Las Vegas One, a 24-hour cable news channel serving Las Vegas.
The Greenspun family, which owns the Las Vegas Sun, will be partners with Cox on all of Prime South Diversified's current businesses, Cox said. The family along with Prime Cable of Austin, Texas, and various institutional investors owns a majority stake in PSDI, it said.
Cox has a cluster of cable TV systems in the Southwest and the addition of the Las Vegas system extends the company's reach in the region.
Robbins said Cox will add many features to the cable customers in Las Vegas, saying there were ``100 different'' possibilities of packaging different services with digital delivery.
He acknowledged that rates might rise with the offering of the new services.
``People will have to pay for it,'' Robbins said. ``Pricing in 1996 is no longer valid for 1998 services.''
The acquisition, using a combination of Cox stock and cash, is subject to government and regulatory approval.
Cox, based in Atlanta, is one of the nation's largest cable TV companies. It also is a partner in Sprint PCS, a digital cellular phone service more sophisticated than existing analog cellular service.