Exclusive: Comcast weighs three options for Time Warner Cable deal: sources

Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:39pm EST
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By Liana B. Baker, Soyoung Kim and Nicola Leske

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comcast Corp is examining three scenarios for a potential deal with Time Warner Cable, including a full takeover bid for the second-largest cable operator, people close to the situation said on Monday.

Top cable provider Comcast is also considering whether it could buy some selective Time Warner Cable markets, or team up with another cable company besides Charter Communications Inc to bid for all of Time Warner Cable, the people said.

Besides Comcast and Charter, privately held Cox Communications Inc also has interest in a potential deal involving Time Warner Cable, people familiar with the matter have previously said.

Comcast, which has a market capitalization of roughly $127 billion, could ultimately decide not to do any deal, said the people, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak with media organizations.

A full takeover of Time Warner Cable makes sense because the company has geographic markets complementary to Comcast, while taking on a partner would give them opportunity to pick and choose key markets, one of the people said. Analysts say buying all of Time Warner Cable would also face tough regulatory scrutiny.

Comcast is weighing all three options equally at this point and would wait to see what kind of offer Charter come up with before pursuing any one of the options, the person added.

Comcast is being advised by JPMorgan Chase & Co on a potential deal for Time Warner Cable, Reuters previously reported.

Representatives for Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox declined to comment. Charter did not immediately respond to requests for comment.   Continued...

A cable truck returns to a Time Warner Cable office in San Diego, California December 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake