One has to wonder what perfume Charter is wearing these days. Verizon is said to have kicked the tires and had a bid rejected. Softbank has been looking to combine the cable operator with Sprint somehow, though they don’t seem to have gotten very far yet either. And now it’s Altice that has apparently been drawn to Charter’s charms.
Altice’s USA division was of course built out of the acquisitions of Cablevision and SuddenLink. But Charter’s girth would take the Altice’s footprint here to an entirely new level. And it would take some serious financing magic as well. Charter’s marketcap of $120B is more than five times the size of Altice USA and is twice the size of the full Altice empire. Reports put a price tag of $185B or more on such a deal. That’s so steep a hill that many people doubt that Drahi is really serious about making such a bid.
And so the dance of the billionaires continues. Altice’s billionaire protagonist Patrick Drahi has made no secret of his interest in further expansion via M&A. Softbank’s Masayoshi Son has been making it quite clear that he’s seeking a deal. And calmly waiting for his price or some other opportunity is Liberty’s Chairman John Malone, currently 20.5% owner of Charter.
And by some other opportunity, I’m starting to think that maybe it’s time to think of Charter as a buyer here. With its own aggressive purchases of TW Cable and Bright House apparently working out well and their stock price continuing to show strength, perhaps Charter has the firepower to make a move of its own…
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