Charter Trying to Rework Debt

Charter Communications owes a lot of money to a lot of people.
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Charter Communications owes a lot of money ($21 billion as of Sept. 30) to a lot of people, and it’s getting harder and harder to borrow.

The company said Friday it asked its long-standing financial advisor, Lazard LLC, to talk with the company's bondholders about financial alternatives to improve the company's balance sheet.

"We believe engaging in discussions with our bondholders, aimed at improving our capital structure and enhancing our financial flexibility, is in the company's and our customers' best interests," said Neil Smit, Charter president and CEO. "In the third quarter 2008, revenues increased 7.3 percent, and net customer additions increased more than 50 percent year-over-year. Our objective in these discussions is to improve our balance sheet, which will better position Charter for the future, while we continue to focus on delivering quality service to our customers and growing our business."

Charter noted that its cash on hand and cash equivalents as of Dec. 10, 2008, was in excess of $900 million, which is available to pay operating costs and expenses.