Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Liberty Media May Want More Cable Companies

John Malone and Liberty Media may be itching to get back into the cable platform business.  Having once owned TCI 15 years ago, their recent cable acquisitions may be indicative of more to follow.  When Malone did own TCI (Tele-Communications, Inc), they were known for not investing in the infrastructure, building out the plant to enable more bandwidth.  It was sold to AT&T and ultimately has found its way in to Comcast. 

Today, they are back in the cable game.  In 2009, "Liberty Global agreed to buy the cable network Unitymedia for $3 billion from investors including BC Partners and Apollo Global Management." He bought into a Puerto Rican cable company, OneLink Communications, last year and will be closing on a 27% position in Charter Communications this year.  So, is John Malone planning to build up an international cable business?

So who else might Liberty Media be looking to acquire?  Cablevision, with 3 mm subscribers, has tremendous value, especially with its systems in the New York City market.  Cox Communications, though privately owned, could be a consideration as well, with over 4.5 mm customers.  Of course, Liberty could also start buying up smaller cable operators, at 1 mm subs and under, but the synergy with Charter may be harder to find.  Still, any additional acquisition by Liberty Media will only confirm their strategic plans.

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