Onetime jilted suiter Charter Communications has approached banks about putting together a debt package of $25 billion to $30 billion for a potential merger with Time Warner Cable, the Wall Street Journal reports. Liberty Broadband CEO Greg Maffei told analysts that any deal with part-owned cable affiliate Charter would be a “friendly transaction” after its hostile approach over a year ago backfired. Maffei said any Charter-TWC deal would seek “the best of breed in both management teams” and try to “drive an improved experience both for consumers and shareholders going forward.” Corporate-speak for We Really Want This Deal.
Meanwhile, Charter and TWC also have approached smaller MSO Bright House Networks which Reuters reported earlier this week was no longer interested in a $10.4 billion acquisition by Charter after the planned Comcast-TWC merger unraveled. The Charter-Bright House deal had been contingent on Comcast’s failed $45.2 billion takeover of TWC.
Regulatory problems are seen as less of an obstacle for a Charter-TWC merger than price, and the Journal said Charter did not want to repeat its mistake of a lowball bid. Charter’s January 2014 proposal was for a takeover of TWC was $132.50 a share in cash and TWC rejected that offer and said it would accept nothing less than $160 a share with $100 in cash. TWC shares closed Friday at $154.68. Charter execs are also said to realize any bid will have to offer a significant amount of cash.