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Charter Communications mulls merger with Time Warner Cable

Robert Rob Marcus  ,   Time Warner Cable

Top executives at Charter Communications Inc. have reached out to Time Warner Cable Inc., looking at the prospect of a possible merger between the two giant cable operators, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Liberty Media chairman John Malone is said to be in talks with Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus. Liberty Broadband Corp. is the largest stakeholder in Charter.

These ‘friendly’ talks comes on the heels of last year’s failed hostile takeover bid Charter had made to acquire Time Warner Cable.

The deliberations are still in early stages and the outcome of the merger deal is less than certain. Recently, Comcast was forced to drop its bid to acquire Time Warner Cable after U.S. regulators indicated their intentions to block the giant merger deal.

The merger of the two giants would have created the largest cable operator in the U.S., dominating nation’s TV and Internet services. Though Charter is smaller than Comcast, however the regulatory authorities may still block any further attempts to consolidate the market.

Earlier in May, Charter reported a lower than projected revenue growth of 7.3% in the March quarter. The weaker membership growth in the Charter’s commercial segment was blamed for the slower revenue growth.

In April, Charter had offered to buy cable operator Bright House for $10 billion, but that transaction was tied to the merger of Time Warner Cable and Comcast. The Time Warner Cable-Comcast’s merger deal fell through, also ending Charter’s prospects of acquiring Bright House.

The Time Warner Cable- Comcast’s failed bid also ended Comcast’s hopes of acquiring up to 4 million subscribers that Comcast and Time Warner Cable where hoping to spin off as part of the merger arrangement.

The conventional cable and TV segment is facing stiff completion from streaming TV services offered by providers like HBO Now, Netflix and YouTube. Apple too is reportedly in early stages of launching its own streaming service. New entertainment technologies on the horizon are forcing cable providers to rethink their revenue models and product range.

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