updated 4/10/2006 10:43:05 AM ET 2006-04-10T14:43:05

Cablevision Systems Corp. has declared a special dividend of $3 billion, or $10 per share, the cable TV operator said in a regulatory filing Monday.

The company had announced plans for the dividend earlier but put them on hold after finding it would have created problems for its borrowing agreements, which were apparently later resolved.

The on-again, off-again distribution has not received a warm welcome from Wall Street analysts, several of whom would have preferred to see the company buy back its own shares rather than taking on debt to pay a dividend.

Oppenheimer analyst Tom Eagan said in a recent note that the combined payout to the company's controlling shareholders, the Dolan family, would amount to about $650 million. Charles Dolan is the company's chairman, and his son James is the CEO.

The Long Island, N.Y.-based cable TV company also owns Madison Square Garden and three cable networks.

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