Report: Charter and Cox Talk Merger

Analyst says potential merger "makes a ton of sense"

Report: Charter and Cox Talk Merger

Charter Communications and Cox Communications are in very early stages of merger talks, according to a report in Bloomberg.

The report, which gives few specifics on what a merger would look like, comes as execs including Liberty Media’s John Malone have called for greater consolidation in the cable industry. Liberty Media, which owns roughly 30% of Charter, has also been in talks with Time Warner Cable about a potential acquisition, although some reports have indicated that those discussions have cooled.

Analyst Craig Moffett says that a potential Charter/Cox deal “makes a ton of sense,” saying that Cox could be a “much more attractive partner” than TW Cable.

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With 4.8 million subs, is nearly the same size as Charter, which has 4.4 million. “Nosebleed leverage,” as Moffett calls it, would therefore not be necessary.

“While a combined Charter/Cox wouldn’t be as large as TWC (even a standalone TWC), it would at least be a player of real scale, immediately putting it in the same league as TWC and Dish Network in the second tier of giants,” Moffett writes.

Report comes after months of rumblings that the privately owned Cox might be an acquisition target for a larger cable operator.

In past years, Cox internally considered a potential merger with Time Warner Cable on multiple occasions, according to an industry exec with knowledge of the operator’s strategy. But parent company Cox Enterprises, which took the cable company private in 2004, did not want to return to the public markets to facilitate such a transaction, the source said.

Todd Spangler contributed to this report.