According to Dow Jones Newswires, Charter Communications and Liberty Media, which acquired a 27% stake in the former earlier this year, have been ‘aggressively reviewing’ possible takeover targets. Earlier this month, speaking at a shareholder meeting, Liberty chairman John Malone confirmed that Charter had the kind of strong balance sheet and stock valuation that would allow it to become a ‘horizontal acquisition machine looking at other assets in the US cable business’. Malone, who led a wave of consolidation in the cable industry in the 1980s and 1990s, added that the ‘name of the game in the cable business is scale’.
However, an operational tie-up between Charter and the far larger Time Warner Cable (TWC) is unlikely to happen, despite Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei meeting with TWC chief executive Glenn Britt last month. CNBC reports that TWC was concerned enough about the broad overture from Liberty that it re-engaged with long-time advisor Morgan Stanley, and hired an outside PR firm in case it needed to defend itself against a more public onslaught.