Cable Tech

Charter, Bright House: The Wedding's Back On

Contrary to a report earlier this month, negotiations are continuing in Charter's bid to acquire Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion. (See US Pay-TV M&A Plot Thickens.)

The two companies jointly announced that they "remain committed to completing their previously announced transaction on the same economic and governance terms."

The agreement between Charter Communications Inc. and Bright House Networks was initially contingent on Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) successfully acquiring Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC). When that deal failed, Charter and Bright House had a 30-day window during which to decide whether or not to continue with their own merger. With their most recent announcement, the two cable operators said that they have extended their "good faith negotiating period" by 30 days.

Bright House currently has an arrangement with Time Warner Cable that allows the smaller operator to share technology and negotiate discounted programming rates through TWC. Had Comcast succeeded in buying Time Warner Cable, however, Bright House would have lost its favored partner status. In that scenario, the agreement with Charter was seen as a necessary step to remaining competitive.

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In the wake of Comcast's merger collapse, it's unclear what path makes the most sense for Bright House. Initially Reuters reported that the company wanted to stay independent and maintain its relationship with Time Warner Cable. However, Charter and Bright House have now made it clear that their discussions are ongoing. Further complicating matters is the fact that Charter is known to be pursuing an acquisition of Time Warner Cable alongside its bid to buy Bright House. (See Bright House May Be Kingmaker.)

Details are scarce on how the parallel transactions might play out, but Charter is already lining up capital in the hopes of achieving its M&A goals.

Regarding the potential Bright House deal, Charter President and CEO Tom Rutledge said, "Bright House and its employees have created a high quality service operation, and the addition of Bright House brings additional scale and strategic flexibility to Charter over time. We look forward to completing the transaction as planned, and our teams are working together to make that happen."

Bright House CEO Steven Miron added, "We continue to be excited about the transaction with Charter. We believe this combination positions the new company to become an industry consolidator and growth platform to develop innovative products in serving customers, growing market share and creating value for shareholders."

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

wolfal 5/19/2015 | 12:51:45 PM
Cable companies will drivre down your mobile phone voice and data bill in your near future As both companies are early adopters of Next Gen WiFi and proponents of Wireless Products in the future, such as Free WiFi Calling,to compete against the Mobile Operators.  This will benefit the consumer and business alike by driving down mobile voice and data prices on everyone's Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile phones. 

It will be a benefit to both of the above cable companies' subscribers, as they are both companies are forward thinking, nimble, and innovative especially in WiFi deployment.

In addition, just like the consumer benefited from the Cable companies competiting against the Telecom Landline companies' DSL for wireline home & business- High speed Broadband internet access, and most consumers have switched over from telecom internet to cable internet, which provides faster speeds, great reliability, good selfhelp- customer service, and excellent prices.

I beleive the same can happen in WiFi arena, once the cable companies complete their WiFi infrastructure moving the user experience to Gen 2 of WiFi, which will include thier upgrading of current Gen 1 (netgear, cisco, linksys) WiFi antennaes to the new state of the art WiFi access point design, which dramatically changes the WiFi experience.

In Gen 2 WiFi, Connectivity is quick and easy, reliability is solid, and your WiFi connection strong, and the new speeds are amazing !!  Gigabit speeds (1,000 Mbps has be achieved in New York City!!) with a much better experience than mobile data (especially since you are charged per Megabit by the Mobile Operators!)

Outside your home, your smartphones will be able to access free unified WiFi networks of blazing fast speed (wihich translates to normally achieving~  400Mbps or higher internet speeds on your phone for free!) rather than 5 to 20 Mbps on "metered" Mobile 4G networks.

Smartphone or lapttop users will get excellent security, and easy, automatic connectivity to your local Cable companies around the country, as Cable companies unify nationwide to compete with the likes of Verizon, AT&T, etc.

It will be a super fast "free" outside (out of your home) WiFi network for everyone that will has a cable subscription, allowing you to one day drop your mobile phone bill, and as your mobile phone voice and data WiFi connectivity will be included in your cable bill, a drasically reduced spend than you do today.
Ariella 5/19/2015 | 10:31:18 AM
Re: High school romance LOL @msilbey If only eBay had existed then, think of the possibilities for premium priced Coke!
msilbey 5/19/2015 | 10:29:09 AM
Re: High school romance I remember stockpiling old coke cans before they brought back coke classic...
Ariella 5/19/2015 | 10:15:40 AM
Re: High school romance Hmm, wheels withing wheels, @msilbey. It reminds me of the theories about New Coke being introduced just to remind everyone how much they love the original formula.
msilbey 5/19/2015 | 9:52:24 AM
Re: High school romance Agreed- With Reuters, Bloomberg et al, I'm always suspicious that there are calculated leaks going on. For all we know, Bright House slid Reuters the initial information just to put pressure on the deal. Or maybe it was just a mistake on Reuters' part? 

My favorite move, though, was when Jimmy Dolan proposed merger to  Rob Marcus on stage at INTX. You could practically see Marcus' blush from the audience.
KBode 5/19/2015 | 9:35:35 AM
High school romance Is it just me, or has the cable consolidation rumor parade felt a lot like passing love notes in high school gym lately? :) That original Reuters report that strongly suggested Bright House wasn't interested seems more and more erroneous the more subsequent leaks that have emerged. From these comments (which wouldn't have been issued at all if negotiations were tense), it sounds like a deal could be as close as a week away.
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