Liberty Media Corp is close to buying a 25% stake in US cableco Charter Communications for around USD2.5 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation. Liberty Media founder John Malone, who is nicknamed ‘the king of cable’ by the US media, controlled Tele-Communications Inc (TCI), which he grew into the largest cable operator in the United States. After a failed merger attempt with Bell Atlantic in 1994, TCI was purchased by AT&T Inc in 1999, and the cable television assets were later acquired by both Charter and the Comcast Corporation.
Malone is also the chairman of Liberty Global Inc (LGI), the international cable operator that purchased UK-based Virgin Media for about USD15.75 billion in February this year. Previously, in January 2013 Barbados-headquartered telecoms group Columbus International announced that Malone had become the Caribbean firm’s largest single minority shareholder via the acquisition of secondary shares from existing shareholders in addition to the purchase of primary shares that will be issued from Columbus’ treasury.