Cablevision finds buyer for Clearview Cinemas

Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) said late Monday that it agreed to sell its chain of 41 movie theaters in the New York City area to Bow Tie Cinemas.

The move comes nearly one year after Cablevision CEO Jim Dolan told analysts on the MSO's first quarter of 2012 earnings call that it planned to "explore potential strategic alternatives for Clearview." While the MSO used the Clearview movie theaters in its Optimum Rewards program--offering subscribers discounts on movie tickets for ordering its cable, phone and high-speed Internet bundle--Cablevision executives said the movie chain was hurting its cash flow.

"As we're looking for ways to continue to consolidate our business, Clearview is not core by any stretch of the imagination," Cablevision CFO Gregg Seibert told analysts last May.

Cablevision didn't disclose terms of the deal, which Bow Tie said will make it the eighth largest movie theater owner in the United States, with 388 screens in 63 locations. It will pick up Clearview's flagship Chelsea Cinemas theater in Manhattan as part of the agreement.

Clearview isn't the first non-core asset Cablevision has sold or folded over the years. It shuttered The Wiz, a chain of New York area electronics stores, in 2003. In February, it agreed to sell its Optimum West cable systems to Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR) for $1.6 billion. And in the late 1990s, Cablevision sold other cable systems outside its core footprint of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, including its system in Cleveland, Ohio.

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