& cplSiteName &

Comcast, Charter Talking Turkey?

Alan Breznick
4/21/2014
50%
50%

Charter Communications may end up with a nice chunk of Time Warner Cable after all.

Charter Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) are exploring the transfer of at least 3 million cable subscribers from Comcast to Charter if Comcast's pending $45.2 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) passes muster, according to several news reports over the holiday weekend. The subscriber selloff could be worth up to $20 billion, cutting the cost of the TWC deal for Comcast while enabling Charter to nearly double in size.

Sources told both the Financial Times and Reuters that the Comcast-Charter talks are serious but still in the early stages. And, not too surprisingly, none of the three MSOs involved are commenting on the news reports right now.

But a deal between Charter and Comcast would make sense for several reasons. First, it would give Charter more of the size and scale it has been feverishly seeking in one fell swoop. It would be very difficult for Charter, which now has 4.2 million basic cable customers, to add another 3 million or more subs through a series of smaller acquisitions. (See What's Next for Charter?)

Moreover, such a sizable deal with Comcast would likely give Charter one or more major metro clusters in the US, something which it dearly lacks now beyond its former St. Louis hometown base. Although it's not known which cable systems Comcast and Charter might be discussing, some possibilities include TWC's systems in Wisconsin, Texas, and the Carolinas, where Charter also has some concentration.

From Comcast's perspective, a deal with Charter could assuage regulatory concerns in Washington, DC and some state capitals about the huge cable monolith that a Comcast-TWC merger would create. While Comcast has pledged to sell cable systems with 3 million subscribers to cap the new company's size at about 30 million video customers, or no more than 30% of the US pay TV market, an actual agreement to do so would undoubtedly generate more trust in Comcast's intentions. (See Comcast-TWC Deal: Playing All the Numbers.)

In addition, a nice little deal on the side with Charter would remove Charter as a potential thorn in the side of the deal. While Comcast is offering far more money for TWC than Charter ever did and TW Cable's board has accepted Comcast's terms, Charter has not yet dropped its own hostile $37.3 billion takeover offer for TWC. So Charter could still make trouble for Comcast's grand plans if it were so inclined.

Besides, why raise the ire of John Malone, Charter's powerful backer, if it can be avoided? After all, what's a mere $20 billion between friends?

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/21/2014 | 7:08:13 PM
Brilliant!
Brilliant move by Comcast and TWC. It reduces regulator objections and turns an enemy of the deal into an ally. A strategy worthy of the Lannisters on Game of Thrones!
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/21/2014 | 4:00:48 PM
Re: Just dandy
I agree that a deal like this could help ease things with regulators. However, expect more of the regulatory complaints to come from the likes of CBS and Disney, not from other cable companies. It's an issue of control of content AND distribution.

 

I also agree subscribers will wind up on the short end. Don't they always? The big guys keep getting bigger with more power. Howard Beale on Network had it right.
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/21/2014 | 2:20:28 PM
Just dandy
OK, Charter would win in such a deal, Comcast would be even a bigger win--I guess the only loser would be Comcast subs. I'm sure the regulatory folks will love such an arrangement.
More Blogs from Breznick Unbound
Light Reading and NCTC are teaming up to create and market webinars, video interviews and other multimedia content for smaller and independent cable operators.
Now that Sony has launched a 4K movie streaming service and AT&T/DirecTV is broadcasting golf and baseball action in UHD, is 4K video ready to go prime time?
Did CableLabs jump the gun by announcing its Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 initiative so early? Some senior cable technologists think so, and so do I.
LR's cable next-gen tech event in Denver this week will tackle prospects for DOCSIS 3.1, Full Duplex DOCSIS and other key industry initiatives.
North American viewers with UHD sets and set-tops will now get to watch soccer, hockey and basketball games in 4K, thanks to moves by Videotron, Univision, Neulion and others.
From The Founder
Download our complete guide to de-risking NFV deployment in 2016, including:
  • An eight-step strategy to deploying NFV safely, based on input from the companies that have already started virtualizing their production networks.
  • Interviews with leading executives at Colt, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Cisco, Nokia, ZTE, Ericsson and Heavy Reading.
  • Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    Prepping for the Future: Upskill U Explained
    During this short kick-off video, Doug Webster, Vice President of Service Provider Marketing, Cisco, and Light Reading’s CEO & Founder Steve Saunders give an overview of Upskill U.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    Atrinet's NetACE – Migration to NFV & SDN With NetOps-Driven LSO

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At Atrinet's headquarters, Ray Le Maistre sits down with Roy Silon to get an in-depth look into the company's focus and the secret recipe for their success.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Amsterdam ArenA, Powered by Huawei

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Huawei's ICT solutions power the state-of-the-art Amsterdam ArenA, turning it into a smart stadium.
    LRTV Interviews
    Testing When There's No 'There' There

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    The benefits of SDN/NFV are well known, but the transition comes with some challenges, prominent among them is: how do you test a network that has been abstracted and has the potential to be endlessly reconfigurable? Light Reading was at NFV World Congress in Santa Clara, Calif., where we bumped into Mats Nordlund, CEO and co-founder of Netrounds, a Swedish ...
    LRTV Interviews
    Ditching the Slash & the Orchestration Wars

    5|3|16   |     |   (2) comments


    SDN and NFV have been inextricably bound with each other for so long that on a conceptual level, smooshing them together into one catch-all phrase – SDNFV – is now justifiable, according to Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). Light Reading spoke to Pitt at the NFV World Congress, where he explained that the next ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    ZTE TV Connect Highlights

    5|3|16   |     |   (0) comments


    ZTE gives us a tour of its booth and new products at TV Connect in London.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Deluxe's Unified Delivery Solution

    5|3|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and visit the Deluxe booth at NAB! Here you'll find Deluxe's Unified Delivery Solution, OTT video, virtual reality, HDR, 4K and much more!
    LRTV Interviews
    Verizon Puts Gray Boxes in the Shade

    5|2|16   |   04:33   |   (1) comment


    When it comes to the white box trend, "gray" boxes, which have a slight proprietary twist, don't give service providers and end users the advantages they're seeking, according to Verizon's Vice President of Product and New Business Innovation Shawn Hakl.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Dealing With a Disrupted Video Market

    5|2|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Ericsson's Simon Frost discusses how traditional pay-TV providers can cope with the big changes wrought by the rise of OTT video and IP technology.
    LRTV Custom TV
    The VNF Responsibility of Red Hat

    5|2|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At MWC, Caroline Chappell of Heavy Reading visits the Red Hat booth and sits down with Chris Wright to talk about the responsibility the VNF needs to take on in order to ensure the operators get the carrier-grade performance they expect for their network.
    LRTV Interviews
    AT&T Expert on the Key Pillars of UC

    4|29|16   |   03:58   |   (0) comments


    Vishy Gopalakrishnan, AVP of product marketing at AT&T, talks about the three developments that are making unified communications and collaboration secure and reliable for enterprise users.
    LRTV Documentaries
    LRTV Report: Mobile Core Innovation

    4|28|16   |   25:32   |   (0) comments


    Hear from multiple industry experts from Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom, Heavy Reading, Huawei, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, NEC and many more about developments in the mobile core as operators virtualize their IMS and evolved packet core systems and prepare for a 5G world.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    NFV World Congress Highlight

    4|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


    The highlight of the NFV World Congress contains exciting telecom news. Join us for an inside look at Huawei's ICT 2020 plan and its latest collaboration with industry leaders.
    Upcoming Live Events
    May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
    May 23, 2016, Austin Convention Center
    May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
    December 6-8, 2016,
    June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
    Hot Topics
    WiCipedia: Woman Cards & Bitch Switches
    Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 4/29/2016
    Amazon AWS Reports $2.6B Quarterly Revenue, Up a Colossal 64%
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/28/2016
    Sprint CEO: Our Spectrum Is for 5G
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/3/2016
    Amazon & Other 'Big 4' Cloud Providers Crushing Competitors
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/29/2016
    FCC Poised to Re-Regulate Wholesale Access
    Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/28/2016
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    Animals with Phones
    Sloth Mail Click Here
    Sloth mail -- somehow even slower than snail mail.
    Live Digital Audio

    Of all the tech companies in the Valley, Intel has made the most aggressive commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. It's doing so by taking concrete, measurable steps, making a large financial investment and through a commitment to complete transparency about its progress. In this radio show, WiC Director Sarah Thomas will be joined by Shlomit Weiss, Intel's Vice President, Data Center Group, and General Manager of Networking Engineering, who will share with us why Intel is tackling this huge challenge, how and to what effect. She will also discuss her unique experiences leading development of Client SOC development in the past and today leading development of all of the chipmaker's silicon hardware for networking IPs and discrete devices and managing a team of 600 engineers across Israel, Europe and the US.