Time Warner Cable, currently the target of a hostile takeover bid by Charter Communications, posted fourth-quarter 2013 earnings that beat Wall Street expectations — and while it grew broadband subscribers, the operator continued to lose video customers.
New York-based TW Cable, the second-biggest U.S. MSO, lost a net 217,000 residential TV subscribers in the period — and dropped 825,000 for the full-year 2013, to stand at 11.2 million consumer video subs at the end of the year. The operator gained 39,000 residential high-speed Internet customers, to 11.1 million at year-end.
Q4 revenue rose 1.7% to $5.58 billion and net income climbed 5.3% to $540 million, or $1.89 per diluted share. Revenue was in line with analyst expectations, but earnings topped consensus estimate of $1.73 per share.
Charter earlier this month went public with an offer to acquire TW Cable in a deal that would be worth more than $61 billion (including debt), an offer the larger operator called “grossly inadequate.” Charter, whose two previous bids also were rejected, is seeking to win the support of Time Warner Cable shareholders. Comcast, meanwhile, reportedly was close to reaching a deal with Charter to buy TW Cable operations in three markets — New York City, North Carolina and New England — if the Charter bid is successful.
Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Rob Marcus, in announcing the earnings, reiterated the company’s stance that it is focused on running the business — and not interested in selling to Charter or anyone else.
“We are geared up to manage this company for the long haul,” he said in prepared remarks. “We’ve got the right assets and a talented, passionate and motivated team aligned around a thoughtful plan. We are executing well and we’ve started the year with meaningful operating momentum.”
In a move designed to show shareholders it’s just fine on its own, Time Warner Cable raised its regular quarterly dividend by 15%, to 75 cents per share. That reflects “our continued confidence in the business and our ability to generate free cash flow,” Marcus said.
TW Cable’s full-year revenue grew 3.4% year over year, to $22.12 billion, driven primarily by growth of 21.6% in business services and 14.4% in residential high-speed data revenue. Full-year adjusted net income for 2013 was $1.93 billion, up 7.3% from the year prior (excluding 2012 investment-related gains from TW Cable’s sale of stakes in SpectrumCo and Clearwire, as well as tax provisions and other special charges).