Charter Communications, the No. 4 U.S. cable company, is reportedly close to buying Time Warner Cable, the nation's second-largest, for $55 billion, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are reporting. The deal would make the combined company a major rival to Comcast Corp.
Here's more from the Journal:
"Under the proposed terms of the deal, Charter will pay about $195 a share in cash and stock. That is roughly 14 percent higher than Time Warner Cable's closing stock price on Friday — and 47 percent higher than Charter's original bid for its rival from early last year."
A deal could be announced Tuesday, though negotiations are continuing and might still fall apart.
Bloomberg reported that "Bright House Networks, a smaller cable company that Charter is trying to buy, will also be merged into the combined entity."
Comcast last month abandoned its own bid for Time Warner following concerns raised by the Justice Department. The Journal reported that a Charter-Time Warner deal could also garner regulatory scrutiny.
Bloomberg adds: "The transaction enables Charter to almost quadruple the number of its cable subscribers, gaining 12 million customers in cities including New York, Los Angeles and Dallas."
The news comes amid major changes in the cable industry: Verizon announced it will offer consumers slimmed-down packages of channels; more networks, including HBO and Showtime, are offering stand-alone services; and consumers are increasingly getting rid of their cable subscriptions.