Comcast wants TWC East Coast markets


Comcast-logoComcast, in its talks with Charter about a possible deal to acquire parts of Time Warner Cable, would be interested in an agreement that gives Comcast the New York market and parts of New England, according to a Reuters exclusive.

Discussions between Comcast and Charter have gotten more substantive in recent days, partly because Comcast felt takeover target Time Warner Cable was seeking too high a price for itself, a source told Reuters on Friday.

Comcast is interested in acquiring Time Warner Cable’s New York City market since it already has operations in neighboring Connecticut and New Jersey, the person added.

In New England, Comcast controls the Boston cable market and is also eying areas where it does not already have systems such as Maine.

Los Angeles, one of Time Warner Cable’s largest markets, is less attractive to Comcast, the person said.

In one scenario being discussed between the two companies, Charter would first acquire Time Warner Cable, and then later sell off markets to Comcast to generate cash.

“A combined Time Warner Cable and Charter could pay off its debt quickly if it turns around and sells off some pieces to Comcast,” the person added.

Comcast had also been considering making a solo bid for Time Warner Cable. But its thinking has changed recently because it considered Time Warner Cable’s asking price of $160 as too high, considering some of the No. 2 cable company’s operational challenges.

The company was unlikely to make a bid for all of Time Warner at $150 or $160 per share, the person added.

Last week, Comcast also added Barclays Plc as an adviser as it evaluates a potential deal for TWC. Comcast tapped JPMorgan Chase last year for advice as well. Charter recently made a formal offer last week to buy Time Warner Cable for $132.50 per share, or $37.3 billion, based on shares outstanding. It was roundly rejected.

See the Reuters story here