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Deals

Exclusive: TPG explores $8 billion sale of U.S. cable operator Astound

FILE PHOTO: Internet LAN cables are pictured in this photo illustration taken in Sydney June 23, 2011. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

(Reuters) - Private equity firm TPG is exploring a sale of Astound that could value the owner of a U.S. network of regional cable TV and internet providers at more than $8 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

The potential sale would come as cable operators have seen their fortunes buoyed by consumers requiring more internet bandwidth, as they stay home to work and be entertained during the COVID-19 pandemic.

TPG has hired Morgan Stanley MS.N and JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM.N to advise on the sale process, the sources said, requesting anonymity as the matter is confidential.

TPG, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan declined to comment. RCN Telecom Services, a division of Astound, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Astound’s network includes RCN, Grande Communications Networks LLC and Wave Broadband. TPG acquired RCN and Grande for $2.25 billion in 2016 and a year later bought Wave Broadband in a $2.37 billion deal.

Astound’s businesses serve parts of California, Chicago, Massachusetts, New York City, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.

Shares of rival broadband provider Charter Communications Inc CHTR.O are up more than 25% so far in 2020, outpacing the broader market. Charter earlier this month reported second-quarter profit that more than doubled.

AT&T Inc T.N has also been looking to capitalize on private equity interest in the sector. It has been making renewed efforts this year to divest its satellite TV business DirecTV and has been having conversations with buyout firms about a potential deal, according to people familiar with the matter. AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York; Additional reporting by Mike Spector and Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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