Bright House Networks To Call Off Wedding To Cable Titan Charter Following Comcast’s Failed Bid For TWC

Federal regulators put into a motion a legal process that would have made it very difficult for Comcast to proceed with its blockbuster plan to acquire Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $45 billion, and as a result of Comcast pulling out of the proposed buyout, Bright House Networks has abandoned its own plans of merging with Charter.

The deals were intertwined in hopes of appeasing antitrust concerns. As constructed, if Comcast received approval to buy TWC, it would sell 1.4 million subscribers to Charter for $7.3 billion. Comcast would also divest 2.5 million subscribers as part of a spinoff into a new cable company called GreatLand Connections, of which Charter would own a stake.

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Charter also announced last month that it was planning to acquire Bright House Networks, the sixth largest cable company in the U.S., for $10.4 billion. Had this happened, along with the above mentioned moves, Charter would have become the second largest cable provider in the U.S.

However, there were several contingencies in place for Charter to acquire Bright House Networks, one of which included government approval for Comcast to buy TWC. That plan fell through, and now Bright House Networks is reportedly in the process of abandoning its deal with Charter, as expected.

There's still a chance that something could be worked out. Charter, which is currently the fourth largest cable operator in the U.S., has two weeks remaining on a 30-day provision in its agreement with Bright House Networks to renegotiate a deal. Negotiations are ongoing, though the sentiment by people familiar with the matter is that Bright House Networks would rather remain independent at this point, Reuters reports.

Part of the reason why is because TWC has an agreement to negotiate programming rates for Bright House Networks and share technology, for a fee. Bright House Networks seems unwilling to alter that arrangement by merging with Charter.