Given the move by Comcast to sweeten the deal to acquire Time Warner Cable, what is the next move by Charter. Will they counter bid Comcast or work with Comcast to pick up systems that Comcast may need to give up to satisfy the FCC? Or will Charter reach out to other cable operators, most likely Cox Cable or Cablevision, with a compelling offer to sell? It seems unlikely that Charter, after all its positioning, will simply tuck in its tail and scamper away, with nothing to show for its efforts.
Certainly Liberty CEO John Malone and Charter CEO Tom Rutledge are discussing their options. And a do nothing scenario makes no sense given their interest in pursuing more consolidation of the cable industry. So what about thinking out of the box a bit. Should they also consider a telco for acquisition. Verizon FIOS might be out of the question but what about AT&T and its U-verse business. Liberty is no stranger to the wireless business and broadband is both a wired and wireless infrastructure.
A Comcast - Time Warner merger may be only the beginning of what could be an interesting M&A year. Charter still has the opportunity to further shake-up a rapidly changing industry. And fiber to the home does not necessarily have to be the final solution.