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Cablevision Growth Slows

But the company maintains guidance.

Updated from 9:33 a.m.



comes up a little flat in the third quarter but keeps its year-end targets unchanged.

The Bethpage, N.Y., cable giant had a slight dip in sales sequentially. Meanwhile, net new subscribers grew by only a fraction and the bottom line fell short of analysts' expectations.

But the company showed strong gains in broadband and Net phone customers, and says it remains on track with a go-private shareholder buyout.

Cablevision posted a net loss of $59 million, or 21 cents a share, in the third quarter. Those numbers compare with a loss of $26 million, or 9 cents a share, in the second quarter, and a year-ago loss of $63 million, or 22 cents a share.

Total sales for the third quarter were $1.4 billion, down from $1.42 billion in the prior quarter, but up from $1.24 billion a year ago. Analysts were looking for a 15 cent loss on $1.41 billion in sales, according to Reuters Research.

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Cable revenue rose 18% from the same period a year ago to $1.03 billion. The company signed on 9,756 basic video subscribers and 93,587 digital TV customers. That's much slower growth than the previous quarter, when the company added 35,328 basic video subscribers and 143,499 digital users.

And while growth is still strong with Cablevision's new service offerings, the pace there also was down from the second quarter. The company added 72,438 fast line Internet customers and 113,086 new digital phone subscribers. Those figures compare with 84,819 high-speed data users added in the prior quarter and 122,234 phone users.

Cablevision attributed the slowdown to normal seasonality.

"Our success continues to be driven by strong subscriber increases in digital video, voice and data, as well as analog video, which recorded its tenth consecutive quarter of basic subscriber growth," CEO Jim Dolan said in a press release Wednesday.

Looking ahead, Cablevision stuck with its guidance. The company expects basic subscriber growth of about 3.75% for the year, and total sales growth in the high teens.

Cablevision is among dozens of companies being probed by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission over stock option backdating. The company has already filed restated financials for previous periods, fixing accounting errors tied to stock option expenses.

Last month, Cablevision said its board has formed a special committee to evaulate the Dolan family's $27 a share buyout and take private proposal. The committee has hired legal counsel and also plans to retain financial advisers to assist in the review.

Cablevision shares closed at $27.93 Tuesday.