The newest product to hit the asset-backed market looks to be cable company revenue, as market entities such as accounting outfits, Street firms and ratings agencies have all broached the subject lately both internally, and in presentations to clients.
In one situation, a Big Four accounting firm was making presentations to cable companies this week about the possibility of financing by securitizing revenues from both consumer and commercial fees.
Sources said both Fitch IBCA and Standard & Poor's have been approached by investment banks and cable companies seeking their opinions.
"We're giving a top-to-bottom presentation to clients who are cable companies," said a source at an investment bank. "They wanted to know about ABS opportunities."
A myriad of ideas have cropped up, ranging from the simple securitization of consumer fees from pay-per-view telecasts involving boxing or World Wrestling Federation events - two big revenue producers for pay cable channels - to the securitization of licensing fees that independent stations must pay in order to broadcast a show owned by the cable channel or provider.
"With any highly-regulated industry there is a greater potential for political risk and the possibility of consumer or grassroots backlash," said an analyst. "It's similar to what's been seen with some of the stranded cost deals.
Volume has the potential of being sizeable though, as Time Warner of New York reported approximately $14.5 billion in revenues last year. - SK