Cablevision Systems Corp. may try to go private or seek a buyer following the resignation of Chief Operating Officer Tom Rutledge, analysts said.
Rutledge announced his exit yesterday, effective later this month. The loss of what Sanford C. Bernstein’s Craig Moffett calls “the hands-down best executive in the cable business” led to downgrades of Cablevision shares by Bank of America Corp., Miller Tabak & Co. and ISI Group. Cablevision fell 8.5 percent to $12.75 at the New York close after falling as much as 17 percent earlier in the day.
Cablevision, the fifth-largest U.S. cable operator, has declined 51 percent since spinning off AMC Networks Inc. on June 30. If the shares don’t recover, Chief Executive Officer James Dolan and his father, Chairman and founder Charles Dolan, may try again to take Cablevision private, said Vijay Jayant, an ISI Group analyst in New York.