Time Warner Cable is also profitable, has 11 million customers including operations in New York and Los Angeles, and improved its operations during the 14 months that Comcast (CMCSA) tried and failed to gain regulatory approval for a merger valued at $45.2 billion.
No wonder that Time Warner Cable has attracted European interest, according to a report Wednesday from the Wall Street Journal. Luxembourg-based Altice (ATCEY), controlled by French billionaire Patrick Drahi, is reportedly ready to make a bid for New York-based Time Warner Cable. Altice turned heads this morning when it secured a $9.1 billion deal to acquire control of St. Louis-based cable-TV operator Suddenlink Communications.
Apparently, word is out: Time Warner Cable is definitely for sale.
"With Time Warner Cable you have a known price tag," said Roger Entner, CEO of Recon Analystics, a telecom consultancy based in Dedham, Mass. "You also have a profitable company that's executing well and doesn't have significant problems. This isn't a turnaround case."
Shares of New York-based Time Warner Cable, the country's second-largest cable-TV provider, was gaining 5.6% to $166.87, extending its advance since Comcast terminated its bid last month to 12%.
Of course, interest in Time Warner Cable also includes St. Louis-based Charter Communications (CHTR), the country's fourth-largest cable-TV operator, which is 27% owned by billionaire John Malone's Liberty Media (LMCA). Ironically, Malone's Liberty Global (LBTYA) has been aggressively acquiring cable-TV networks across Europe for more than a decade.
Charter is already moving on a $10.4 billion acquisition of privately-held Bright House Networks, a cable-TV operator that also has operations in Los Angeles, among other places, including Florida.
"This is all about Internet access, broadband," Sanjaya Krishna, KPMG's digital risk consulting leader, said in an interview from Washington. "Broadband is considered a utility these days, which codifies the reality of the situation: Internet access into people's homes is getting to be as important to them as their water connection and fuel connection and electricity connection."