Charter Communications is poised to scoop up Time Warner Cable in a $55 billion deal that would make it the largest pay-TV provider in Southern California, it was reported today.
The acquisition, expected to be announced today, is considered more likely to clear regulatory hurdles than the recently scuttled acquisition of Time Warner Cable by Comcast Corp., the Los Angeles Times reported. That’s partly because the combined company would be far smaller, with 17 million customers nationwide. Had Comcast succeeded, it would have served 30 million households.
Charter, backed by cable pioneer John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp., would nonetheless command a giant footprint in Southern California, with more than 2 million customers in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, San Diego, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, according to The Times.
The proposed union of two of the Southland’s biggest cable companies has the potential to break the logjam in the yearlong stalemate over distribution of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ TV channel. As a goodwill gesture, Charter could quickly begin carrying the SportsNet LA channel, which is owned by the Dodgers, for its current customers in Southern California, The Times reported.
Such a move would enable baseball fans in Glendale, Malibu, Burbank, La Canada Flintridge, Long Beach and other areas currently served by Charter to watch Dodgers games on SportsNet LA. Time Warner Cable has been the only major distributor in Southern California to carry the network since it launched at the start of the 2014 baseball season.
Charter of Stamford, Connecticut, and Time Warner Cable of New York City began negotiating the proposed acquisition soon after federal regulators signaled in late April that they would seek to block Comcast’s proposed $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable.