More than $40-50 million of Adelphia Communications' Century Cable facility changed hands in the 78-81 range after its operating company, Century Communications, filed for bankruptcy last week. The name had traded as low as 83 1/2 two weeks ago. "People are trying to find out where the right levels are now that it has moved into distressed," said one dealer concerning the trades. Market players also are trying to anticipate which of the company's operating subsidiaries is the next to file and when that will be. "That's the million dollar question," said one trader. Calls to Adelphia's spokeswoman were not returned by press time.
Multiples for the cable industry are contracting, noted one dealer. Whereas cable companies used to trade at 12 times their earnings, they are now trading at eight times, he explained. Levels for Charter Communications' bank debt have been falling in sympathy with Adelphia. One trader said that technicals had driven the name's "B" tranche down as low as 911/ 4 and, at that level, the paper was beginning to look attractive to some investors. Calls to Kent Kalkwarf, executive v.p. and cfo, were referred a spokesman, who did not return calls by press time.