Time Warner Cable Mulls Possible Acquisitions (Report)

John Malone
Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images

With John Malone's Liberty Media eyeing the second-largest U.S. cable firm, it has held exploratory talks with Cablevision and Cox Communications.

Time Warner Cable, which has been approached by John Malone's Liberty Media about a possible combination with Charter Communications, has itself held exploratory deal talks with peers, Reuters reported. 

The second-largest U.S. cable operator, recently has discussed strategic options, including a possible acquisition, with Cablevision Systems and Cox Communications, the country's third-largest cable firm, said Reuters, citing people familiar with the situation. The company would rather make its own acquisitions than be taken over or merging with Charter, in which Liberty owns a 27.3 percent stake, it said.

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TWC has contacted Cablevision and Cox in recent months, but the talks didn't progress to a serious stage, according to the report. It wasn't immediately clear how recent the discussions were and if they could continue in the near future. Representatives of all companies declined to comment.

Deals for both Cablevision, whose cable systems are in and around New York where TWC has a strong presence, and Cox, which like TWC has operations in California, would face hurdles. TWC has about 12 million subscribers. Cox has about 4.5 million subscribers, while Cablevision has 3.2 million. Both are controlled by families that have not signaled any interest in selling.

In California, TWC has spent money on local sports rights for the Los Angeles Dodgers and L.A. Lakers. Adding Cox cable systems in California could allow it to offer its regional sports networks to more subscribers.

The news about TWC's recent conversations with the two companies come as Malone has said Charter could become a "horizontal acquisition machine." Despite TWC's lack of interest in a deal with the smaller Charter, Liberty and Charter have been mulling ways to structure a friendly bid to acquire the company as TWC CEO Glenn Britt is scheduled to retire this year.

E-Mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai