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EDITIONS
Thursday, 18 July, 2002, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Liberty directors quit Telewest board
Cable laying
Telewest is under pressure to deal with its debt
The investment company Liberty Media has withdrawn its three non-executive directors from the board of struggling cable company Telewest.

Liberty - which is led by the US media tycoon John Malone - said the move was to make sure it would avoid any conflict of interests during upcoming talks on Telewest's financial restructuring.

In May, Microsoft withdrew its three representatives from the Telewest board, and said it was still considering selling Telewest shares, or "engaging in possible strategic transactions" with the cable TV operator.

Telewest is under pressure to deal with 5.3bn ($7.8bn) of debt it built up by making acquisitions during the hi-tech boom.

Bond offer scrapped

At the height of the tech bubble, Telewest shares were valued at 560p. Now they are worth 2p.

As well as withdrawing three board members, Liberty Media said it had dropped its offer to buy 20% of Telewest's bonds, because the cable operator's share price had fallen too far.

"The continuing decline in world markets has caused us to review our priorities for additional investments," said Liberty's president and chief executive Robert R Bennett.

"In the context of this review we have concluded that Liberty Media's interests are best served by terminating the offer."

The offer would have given Liberty sufficient bonds to influence the terms of any future debt restructuring.

Other Telewest bondholders had been unhappy with the offer, and last week they filed a lawsuit against Liberty claiming that the bond offer was illegal.

See also:

11 Jun 02 | Business
15 May 02 | Business
02 May 02 | Business
30 Apr 02 | Science/Nature
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