Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Charter Buys Optimum West, Liberty Media To Buy Piece Of Charter

As Charter Communication grows, so does Liberty Media.  First came the announcement that the FTC approved Charter's purchase of Optimum West, the former systems owned by Bresnan and sold to Cablevision.  Now comes word that Liberty Media is buying a quarter stake in Charter.  "The acquisition of a stake in Charter, the eighth biggest pay-TV operator with 4.2 subscribers, would be Malone’s first big investment in a U.S. cable operator since he sold Tele-Communications Inc. to AT&T (T) for $48 billion in 1999."  Of course, Liberty also had a piece of DirecTv before spinning it out into a separate run company.

So if Liberty Media is looking to get into the distribution game, might they look at buying an additional cable operator.  While John Malone and Charles and Jimmy Dolan haven't tended to see eye to eye,  Cablevision might just be a target for acquisition as well.  And to the Dolan advantage, it could lead to a bidding war with Time Warner Cable who would see adding the Cablevision footprint as a more valuable asset.  For now, we can only watch and see what intentions Liberty will have with their Charter investment. 

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