Charter Communications (CHTR) said it would acquire Time Warner Cable for $78.7 billion, or about $195.71 per share. This comes after Comcast (CMCSA) withdrew its bid for Time Warner Cable back in April, after regulators didn"t seem likely to approve the deal.
Charter is also buying cable operator Bright House Communications for $10.4 billion, which has 2.5 million customers. The Charter, Time Warner and Bright House company will have 23.9 million subscribers from 41 states, slightly less than Comcast"s 27 million.
"This agreement recognizes the unique value of Time Warner Cable, and brings together three great companies that share a common philosophy of strong operations, great products, robust network investment and putting customers first," said Robert Marcus, chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable. The deal will help Charter compete with AT&T (T), as well, which announced plans to acquire DirecTV (DTV), a deal that should close in 2015.
"We think [the combined company] will be very well-positioned to compete against the bigger guys," said S&P Capital IQ analyst Tuna Amobi. "It will be led by Charter CEO Tom Rutledge, who is very well regarded as one of the best operators in the industry. Overall, we think this illustrates the theme of cable consolidation."
Rutledge will be given a deal to keep him in charge of the company for the next five years, Charter said.
S&P maintains its buy rating on Time Warner Cable, but raised its price target to $195, from $170. It also upped its rating on Charter to hold from sell and raised its price target to $180 from $170.
Shares of Time Warner Cable are up 21% since the start of the year. Charter Communications ended Tuesday"s trading day up 2.6% and rose 8% for the year to date.