Charter Communications is recommending that investors in Time Warner Cable (TWC) reject Comcast’s takeover offer, which exceeded Charter’s offer by more than $25 a share.
Charter demanded instead "that the TWC board engage in a full review of its strategic opportunities."
Last year, Liberty Media purchased a 27 percent stake in Charter Communications, and then used Charter as its vehicle to launch a takeover of Time Warner Cable. Charter’s offer would have translated into an acquisition price of about $37 billion, an offer TWC rejected as too low.
Charter, realizing that it might have to up its offer, invited Comcast to go in on the deal. The proposal presumably was to carve up TWC after the merger. Comcast decided to make an offer of its own, valuing TWC at about $45 billion, cutting Charter out of the deal entirely.
Comcast’s takeover of TWC needs regulatory approval.
Charter said it does not need an acquisition to move forward. Nonetheless, it is clearly not giving up. Moving forward, there remain possibilities for Charter getting involved with Time Warner Cable.
If the Comcast-TWC merger is approved, Comcast will be obliged to spin off systems representing about 3 million subscribers. Those castoffs, all by themselves, would be one of the largest cable companies in the U.S. Charter might bid for those systems.
If the Comcast-TWC merger is not approved, Charter might decide to revive its bid. It could go it alone, or, if any other cable operator wants to go in on the deal (even Comcast), those paths presumably would remain open.