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Comcast Won’t Make an Offer to Buy Astros-Rockets Network

March 18 (Bloomberg) -- Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable operator, won’t make an offer to buy out of bankruptcy the television network it jointly owns with Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros and the National Basketball Association’s Rockets.

Comcast had indicated in court papers filed early in the bankruptcy case that it was interested in buying the network through a court-supervised auction process. The company never made a formal offer for the network and no competitive bidding process has been presented for court approval.

The cable operator filed the bankruptcy in an effort to allow the network to reorganize, it said in court papers filed yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston. “Much has happened, however, in the nearly six months,” since the bankruptcy was filed and “Comcast is no longer prepared to purchase the network,” the company added.

Affiliates of Philadelphia-based Comcast, saying in court papers they are owed more than $100 million, filed an involuntary bankruptcy against Houston Regional Sports Network LP Sept. 27, preventing the baseball club from terminating its media rights agreement with the network.

John Demming, a spokesman for Comcast, didn’t immediately respond to e-mail and phone messages seeking comment on yesterday’s filing.

Creditors’ Bid

The creditors’ bid to put the network in bankruptcy was approved last month by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur. The Astros, which oppose the bankruptcy, have appealed the ruling.

The Astros called the involuntary bankruptcy a power grab by Comcast that’s intended to strip the network of its value and buy it on the cheap, according to court filings.

The network is 46 percent owned by the Astros, 31 percent by the Houston Rockets and 22 percent by Comcast, according to court papers.

The case is In re Houston Regional Sports Network LP, 13-bk-35998, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Bathon in Wilmington at mbathon@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Dunn at adunn8@bloomberg.net Peter Blumberg, Charles Carter

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