Cablevision Sees Year-End Spin of MSG - TheStreet



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beat on profit despite a drop in basic TV customers and alarmingly weak sales of advanced services.

The Bethpage, N.Y.-based cable giant also says it expects to complete the previously announced spinoff of its MSG unit by Dec. 31.

The company told analysts on a conference call that the MSG business, which includes Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks and Rangers along with Radio City Music Hall, has signed on

Delta Airlines

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as the official airline of Madison Square Garden. Cablevision also said it has renewed its contract to hold the Big East Men's College Basketball Tournament through 2016.

Cablevision posted a profit of 33 cents a share, up from earnings of 9 cents in the year-ago period, and well above the 26 cents analysts were looking for, according to Yahoo! Finance.

Sales for the third quarter ended in September were $1.84 billion, up 5% from $1.75 billion a year ago and slightly above the $1.82 billion target analysts had set.

And while the financials seemed solid, Cablevision offered a more troubling picture of its core cable business. Basic and digital video subscriber numbers fell from second-quarter levels, suggesting stronger competition from TV efforts by phone companies like


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and continued pressure from satellite players like


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Helping partially offset the slide, Cablevision saw slight gains in Internet and phone service customers in the third quarter. But its revenue generating units, a measure of total services Cablevision has sold to subscribers, was up by 11,500 and roughly flat with second quarter performance, though it was up 3% from year-ago levels.

Cablevision told analysts on the call that it does not expect to offer a share buyback program.

Shares of Cablevision rose 3% to $24.08 in midmorning trading Tuesday.