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Vons

No. 39

Century-TCI Agreement

Century Communications Inc. may finally have the wherewithal to launch its long-discussed 24-hour cable news channel, following an agreement signed in December with Tele-Communications Inc.

Century, L.A.’s second-largest cable provider, will become the biggest cable company in the region once it gets control of the local subscriber base of TCI, the No. 4 cable provider in the L.A. market. The deal, however, may take up to a year to clear regulatory hurdles.

Under terms of the deal, TCI and Century will swap cable systems in various markets, while in Los Angeles they will form a partnership merging TCI’s 335,000 local subscribers with Century’s 500,000. Century gets a 75 percent stake in the L.A. partnership and TCI a 25 percent stake.

The growth in its subscriber base may bring Century the ad revenues it needs to pay for its 24-hour news channel. It might also speed the arrival of high-tech services like cable modems to Century subscribers.

If the deal is completed around the end of 1998, Century officials say an L.A. news channel could go on the air in early 1999.

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