Charter Communications this week said it's planning to acquire Bright House Networks, the sixth largest cable company in the U.S., for $10.4 billion. However, there are several contingencies, one of the biggest of which is government approval for rival Comcast to acquire Time Warner Cable, as Charter has a vested interest in the side deal.
If Comcast is able to buy TWC, it has agreed to shed 1.4 million subscribers to Charter in exchange for $7.3 billion to help nudge regulators to approve the deal. Comcast said it 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. Should all of this take place, Charter would climb two spots to become the second largest cable company in the U.S.
There are other potential roadblocks, including shareholder approval and regulatory approval, both for Comcast's deal and for Charter's proposed buyout of Bright House Networks. It isn't quite a Hail Mary pass we're talking about here, though several pieces have to fall in place for this somewhat complicated puzzle to be complete.
If this happens, Charter wouldn't own Bright House Networks outright, though it would have a controlling share with a 73.7 percent stake. Advance/Newhouse would retain 26.3 percent.
"Bright House has built outstanding cable systems in attractive markets that are either complete, or contiguous with the New Charter footprint. This acquisition enhances our scale, and solidifies New Charter as the second largest cable operator in the US. I look forward to working with the Bright House team, whom we have known for years, in delivering great products and services to grow our market share," said Tom Rutledge, President and CEO of Charter.
Bright House currently serves around 2 million video customers in central Florida including Orlando and Tampa Bay, as well as Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, and California.