Charter Communications is prepping an offer for Time Warner Cable as early as next week, with a bid of less than $140 per share in cash and stock, Bloomberg reported Friday citing an anonymous source.
Time Warner Cable stock opened at $131.60 per share Friday, and ticked up 1.7% on the report in early trading. Charter shares climbed 2.2%, to $134.95 per share.
Reps for Charter and Time Warner Cable declined to comment.
The report comes after Charter CEO Tom Rutledge earlier this week at the UBS Media & Communications Conference said the cable operator "doesn't need to do any deals to make itself a highly valuable business." He was responding to widespread reports that the company -- in conjunction with John Malone's Liberty Media, which owns a 27% stake in Charter -- has been actively seeking a deal to merge with the larger operator.
SEE ALSO: John Malone: Time Warner Cable Should Be Rolling Up Cable Ops
Charter has met with Bank of America, Barclays and Deutsche Bank to line up financing for a Time Warner Cable bid, and might also seek cash for the transaction from "sovereign wealth funds and wealthy individuals," The Wall Street Journal reported last month.
Malone, for his part, has been public in expressing his belief that cable operators must merge to gain economies of scale. Charter could become "a horizontal acquisition machine" by buying up other MSOs, Malone said at Liberty Media's annual investor day in June. Charter will be "looking at other assets in the U.S. cable business that lack scale to have synergy."
Comcast also has been reportedly conducting due diligence on a bid for Time Warner Cable, and enlisted JP Morgan to explore a potential acquisition plan, Reuters reported.
Charter to Submit Bid for Time Warner Cable for Less Than $140 per Share: Report
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