It sure takes a lot to scare investors away from
After the troubled cable television operator issued a catalog of bad news Monday morning, including the sacking of a top executive sidelined by a grand jury investigation, shares in Charter suffered only a slight downturn from where they spent most of Friday.
Shares in Charter rose 4 cents Monday to close at $1.17. That price is less than a dime below where Charter's shares traded most of Friday before the Nasdaq 100's reconstitution sent them on a wild ride.
Dropping only a few cents isn't bad, considering the news that Charter disclosed before the markets opened Monday. The company is firing Chief Operating Officer David Barford, who was placed on leave earlier this year in the wake of a grand jury investigation into Charter's customer counts and capitalization policies. In addition, Charter said it is firing CFO Kent Kalkwarf.
The terminations of the two men, who came to Charter in mid-2000, "follow a review by the Company of various matters, including those relating to the previously disclosed Grand Jury investigation," Charter said in a statement.
Furthermore, says Charter, the company expects the growth rate for fourth-quarter revenue to be at the low end of the 8% to 9% range it gave investors. Operating cash flow for the quarter will be less than the previous guidance of 4% growth. The company, which is in the midst of re-auditing its financial reports for the years 2000 and 2001, says it won't provide further guidance until it completes its audit for 2002 in the first quarter of next year.
On the bright side, Charter says it has been told by the U.S. attorney's office leading the grand jury investigation that no member of its board, including CEO Carl Vogel, is a target.
Taking Barford's place will be Maggie Bellville, a cable industry veteran that Charter appointed executive vice president of operations two weeks ago.
Charter's shares, which were officially dropped from the Nasdaq 100 index at Monday's open, plunged from $1.35 to $1.03 at the market's close Friday.