According to a press release issued today, Wechsler Harwood LLP has filed a class action challenging the proposed buyout of the publicly held shares of Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) by the Dolan family, the controlling shareholders of Cablevision.
The offer, which was announced yesterday morning, would give public shareholders $27 in cash for each Cablevision share.
This is not the first time the Dolan family has attempted to take Cablevision private. Back in 2005, the Dolans had offered to take the cable assets private while at the same time creating a separate public company that would include other Cablevision assets such as Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers.
The Dolan family currently owns approximately 22.5% of Cablevision's common stock, but controls approximately 74.0% of the voting power. Charles Dolan currently serves as chairman of Cablevision's board and James Dolan currently serves as Cablevision's president and CEO.
The buyout would be financed by an investment of the Dolan family's Cablevision shares and debt financing from Merrill Lynch & Co. and Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc.
According to this press release issued by Cablevision yesterday evening, the board of directors has appointed a special transaction committee, to evaluate and act on the Dolan family's proposal. The special committee is comprised of board members Thomas V. Reifenheiser and Vice Admiral John R. Ryan USN (Ret.) and has retained Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP as its legal counsel.
The Dolan family is being advised by Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and investment banks Merrill Lynch and Bear, Stearns.
Daily Trivia: The original Madison Square Garden was named for (and located near) Madison Square park. The site of the original garden (26th and Madison Avenue) was previously a passenger depot for the New York and Harlem Railroad (n/k/a Metro-North Railroad Harlem Line). After the depot moved to Grand Central Terminal, P.T. Barnum purchased the old depot and converted into a hippodrome. William Henry Vanderbilt was the first to name the arena Madison Square Garden.