Time Warner Slips as Merger Speculation Eases

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Time Warner Cable ( TWC) shares fell Monday after speculation of a takeover by Liberty Media Corp ( LMCA) -controlled Charter Communications ( CHTR) appeared unlikely in the short term.

Time Warner Cable dropped 2.5% to $101.29 after soaring 8% on Friday after CNBC reported that the two companies had discussed a merger.

In a note, Raymond James analysts said the deal had no "foundation in reality," leading to Time Warner shares to slump.

Stamford, Conn.-based Charter holds the fourth-largest market capitalization in the U.S. cable industry at $11.9 billion following Comcast ( CMCSA), DirecTV and Time Warner Cable. The company operates in the South, while Time Warner largelt services the East Coast.

Speculation of Liberty Media's expansionary ambitions emerged after John Malone, Chairman of Liberty Media, stated at a June 7th shareholder's meeting, that the firm's strong balance sheet and stock valuation would allow it to be a "horizontal acquisition machine looking at other assets in the U.S. cable business."

With programming costs rising, and the need to update systems to compete with the quicker and newer internet networks that Verizon ( VZ) and Google ( GOOG) are implementing with Fios and Google Fiber, established cable companies are thinking of consolidating to garner the necessary capital.

Time Warner CEO Glenn Britt, 64, is expected to step down at the end of the year when his contract expires.

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