The U.S. cable TV market could be heading for a mega consolidation as Time Warner Cable could be a takeover target for Comcast and Charter Communications Inc.
Time Warner Cable, the second-largest publicly traded cable operator, could be divided between Comcast and Charter Communications. According to media reports, Comcast could get part of Time Warner Cable lying in its adjacent areas. A similar kind of parceling out could happen in case of Charter Communications, 27% of which is held by John Malone’s Liberty Media.
Cable TV pioneer Malone has earlier said that Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications need to merge to get favourable content deals with broadcasters.
Time Warner had earlier in the year lost subscribers after CBS was dark on its network due to dispute over pricing of the channels.
Even if the deal fructifies, it is not clear whether the U.S. media watchdog Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would give its nod. While Time Warner Cable has 11.4 million TV subscribers, Comcast 21 million. This will give the duo a combined strength of 32.4 million subscribers if a merger between the two outfits takes place, giving them a formidable negotiating power over broadcasters in a nation which has about 100 million pay-TV households.