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Charter Communications Seeks Chapter 11

MANHATTAN (CN) - Charter Communications - and 129 affiliates - filed for bankruptcy, listing $13.8 billion in assets and $24.2 billion in debts. Charter, an Internet and telephone company, has not turned a profit since it went public in 1999, and its stock price has not topped $5 since January 2004, according to industry reports - although reported in December that "the CEO seems to do OK."

CEO Neil Smit got a $2 million "signing bonus" and 25% pay raise - to $1.5 million - last September, the St. Louis Business Journal reported, citing SEC filings. But Smit must repay the $2 million if he quits before Dec. 31, 2009, and must return half of it if he quits in the first half of 2010, according to the Business Journal. The deal also increased Smit's "target bonus" from 150% to 200% of his salary. And, if Charter fires Smit without "cause" or "good reason" it must pay him three times his salary and target bonus - or nine times his expected annual pay - in a lump sum, according to the Business Journal.

Charter is based in St. Louis.

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