Charter Communications Wins Latest Race for Time Warner Cable

Just a month after Comcast scrapped its own deal to buy Time Warner Cable, Charter buys the company, even as a European cable company waited in the wings.

Charter Communications, Time Warner Cabel, acquisitions, cable companies, Comcast

Charter Communications is acquiring Time Warner Cable as the musical chairs over which suitor buys the second-largest U.S. cable company is apparently coming to an end.

Under the deal, Charter values Time Warner Cable (TWC) at $78.7 billion and will pay $195.71 per share for the stock, which is a premium over the $171.18 closing price for the shares on May 22.

The May 26 acquisition announcement of TWC by Charter comes just a month after an earlier $45 billion TWC acquisition proposal by Comcast fell apart due to potential roadblocks from federal regulators who were leery of the merger due to concerns about unfair competition and harm to industry innovation. That merger had been proposed back in February 2014, according to earlier eWEEK reports.

The musical chairs with TWC continued even after the Comcast deal went bust when Luxembourg-based cable and telecom company Altice began looking to pursue TWC last week, according to reports. Charter had also previously been mentioned as a TWC suitor.

In connection with the TWC acquisition, Charter also announced that it will pay $10.4 billion to acquire Bright House Networks in partnership with Advance/Newhouse Partnership, which is a parent company of Bright House Networks.

"With our larger reach, we will be able to accelerate the deployment of faster Internet speeds, state-of-the-art video experiences, and fully-featured voice products, at highly competitive prices," Tom Rutledge, the president and CEO of Charter Communications, said in a statement. "In addition, we will drive greater competition through further deployment of new competitive facilities-based WiFi networks in public places, and the expansion of the facilities footprint of optical networks to serve the large, small and medium sized business services marketplace."

By combining Charter, TWC and Bright House, the new company will serve about 23.9 million customers in 41 states.

"With today's announcement, we have delivered on our commitment to maximizing shareholder value," Robert D. Marcus, chairman and CEO of TWC, said in a statement. "This agreement recognizes the unique value of Time Warner Cable, and brings together three great companies that share a common philosophy of strong operations, great products, robust network investment and putting customers first."

The company, to be called New Charter, will be led by Rutledge as president and CEO. The proposed acquisition will be subject to approval by both Charter and TWC shareholders and by regulators. The Charter-Advance/Newhouse transaction is subject to several conditions, including the completion of the TWC acquisition and regulatory and other approvals. The three companies expect to close the announced transactions by the end of 2015, they said.