I’m surprised that Time Warner Cable COO Rob Marcus — who becomes CEO at year-end — was surprised last week when Bloomberg reported from an interview with him that he’s willing to sell the No. 2 cable operator at the right price. The story was “frustrating” and used a “sexy headline” that misled readers and took him “out of context,” he said today at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. “Our management team is completely focusing on running Time Warner Cable for the long haul” and he sees “opportunities to generate great experiences for customers and a whole lot of value for shareholders.” So was Bloomberg wrong when it said that he’d sell at the right price to potential buyers such as Charter, Comcast, or Cox? Of course not. “My job as CEO is to maximize value for shareholders,” he says. Indeed he “is and always has been 100% driven by what’s in the interests of shareholders.” That would have to include a sale if the price is high enough. He also says that consolidation might bring benefits if it lowers content costs and expenses. Marcus for the most part reiterated company positions in response to other questions. He’d consider offering streaming video services such as Netflix on his company’s set-top boxes. “Overall we continue to view online video viewing as a positive for the broadband business” and he hasn’t seen much video cord-cutting. Marcus also likes the idea of expanding usage-based pricing for broadband. TWC has some usage-based offers and “the uptake has been relatively light” although “the principle is an important one…We see no reason why the light users should subsidize the heavy ones.”
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