WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- A company owned by Cablevision Systems founder Charles Dolan dropped out of a major auction of wireless spectrum on Thursday as the bidding exceeded $11 billion.
Dolan Family Holdings, based in Woodbury, N.Y., had made a deposit of almost $150 million in its bid for some of the 1,122 licenses being sold by the Federal Communications Commission. After initially placing big bids, the Dolan family withdrew from the auction without winning any licenses.
A phone message left for Bill Frewin, who is listed as a contact for the Dolan family, wasn't returned.
The withdrawal came as the total amount of bids placed in the auction reached almost $11.1 billion. There hasn't been any bidding on the five most expensive licenses for the past six rounds, raising the possibility that the winning bids for those licenses have already been placed.
Even as the Cablevision founder's family group withdrew, another member of the Dolan family was ratcheting up his bids. Antares Holdings LLC, majority-owned by Charles Dolan's nephew John Dolan, currently has winning bids on five smaller licenses. Antares is bidding under rules that may entitle it to small-business discounts.
The top five bids by dollar value have been placed by companies controlled by Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA, and a group that includes buyout firm Madison Dearborn Partners.
Prices for licenses are rising to the point where some participants are backing out. On Wednesday, a group backed by satellite companies EchoStar Communications and DirecTV Group dropped out of the auction without winning any licenses.
- By Siobhan Hughes, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-6654; Siobhan.Hughes@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires "
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