America’s fourth largest cable provider Charter Communications is close to a deal to acquire the second largest cable provider Time Warner Cable for $55.1 billion in cash and stock.
If regulatory approval granted, the deal would almost quadruple the size of Charter’s subscriber base. The provider would pick up 12 million customers in cities including New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.
Charter’s offer for Time Warner Cable amounts to $179 per share, or about 14 percent higher than TWC stock’s most recent closing price.
Charter is acquiring Brighthouse Networks, which would be folded into the deal.
The Wall Street Journal and Reuters reported in late April that Charter was interested in buying TWC, and that the parties were talking. Then, a Bloomberg report Monday said the two had reached a deal that would be announced very soon.
Charter has been on the dance floor with TWC before. It tried to buy out the larger cable provider in early 2014, but TWC wanted more money. Then Comcast stepped in with its $45 billion to buy TWC.
When regulators stopped that deal in April on anti-trust grounds, the door to tie-up between Charter and TWC opened wide. Charter is determined not to miss its chance this time.
In the background is the looming threat of over-the-top video offerings from Netflix, Amazon, and, perhaps, soon Apple, which continue to pull subscribers away from pay TV players. Analysts expect a good deal of consolidation in the space as pay TV providers try to lessen their dependence on video subscribers.
Cable operators have become far more reliant on broadband sales in recent years. Video is a tough business. One one hand, video content owners like the NFL and Viacom constantly demand more for their content; and on the other, cable companies can squeeze only so much more from (already-price sensitive) subscribers to cover the extra cost.