Charter to sell California cable systems?


St. Louis-based Charter Communications, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, has reportedly hired Citigroup and Goldman Sachs Group to sell its southern California systems. An auction for the assets could fetch as much as $2 billion said a Bloomberg story. Charter is now controlled by Apollo Global Management LLC, Oaktree Capital Management LP and other private equity firms. In California, Charter operates systems around LA, Lompoc, San Louis Obispo, Chico and Redding.

Time Warner Cable, the most likely suitor with about 1.8 million customers in LA, will evaluate whether to bid on Charter’s assets, CEO Glenn Britt told Bloomberg in a conference call. Charter had about 4.5 million basic video subscribers in 2010 and doesn’t detail customers by region.

“We’re going to evaluate it like we look at all acquisitions and look at what it would look like under our ownership,” Britt said. “And then evaluate it versus other investment alternatives, including buying our shares back, and we’ll come out wherever we come out.”

Charter, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs would not offer comment for the story.