The combination of system sales and swaps valued at $20B would affect nearly 5.6M cable subscribers — and would remove Charter as a potential obstacle to Comcast‘s $45B acquisition of Time Warner Cable — Financial Times reports. Word of a possible deal has been circulating for days, but the paper, citing “people familiar with the matter,” now says the companies are “close to agreeing” to the complicated transaction, perhaps this week. It’s all contingent on federal approval for the mega-deal to combine the nation’s two largest cable providers. The new agreement has three components: Charter would buy from Comcast systems now owned by TWC that include 1.4M subs. The cable giant would create a new company with 2.5M subs, in which Charter would have a 35% stake. And Comcast and Charter would swap 1.65M subs. FT says it’s “unclear exactly which subscribers will be swapped or the exact geographies under discussion.” Comcast wants to increase its clout in major markets, including New York and Los Angeles: The company has said that it sees big growth opportunities in offering business services.