Charter Communications is reportedly on the point of buying Time Warner Cable in a $55bn deal, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The deal, which could be confirmed today, would put Charter in the ranks of the biggest U.S. broadband and pay-television companies, "creating a potent rival for Comcast and DirecTV," said the WSJ.
The companies are in advanced talks for a cash-and-stock deal that would value Time Warner Cable at $195 a share, according to a person familiar with the matter, said the Journal.
As part of the transaction Charter also would merge with small operator Bright House Networks. The combined cable giant would have 23 million total customers, second only to Comcast’s 27 million among cable operators.
Just a month ago Comcast dropped a planned merger with Time Warner as Washington regulators were said to be against the deal. .
A Charter-TWC deal could be in for a stringent review in Washington as well, said the WSJ quoting analysts.
The acquisition carries a breakup fee of about $2bn. Comcast’s deal with Time Warner Cable had no breakup fee.
Charter has 5.9 million residential subscribers in more than 25 states In 2013, Charter tried to buy Time Warner Cable but was rebuffed. Then came a hostile bid early last year that was headed off when Comcast struck its now abandoned deal.
The price tag of $195 a share represents a 14 per cent premium to Time Warner Cable’s closing price of $171.18 on Friday. Last year, Charter had proposed a takeover at $132.50 a share in cash and stock. Comcast’s all-stock bid was just under $160 a share.