The U.S.’s largest pay-TV provider Comcast will buy its No. 2 rival, Time Warner Cable, in a transaction worth more than $45 billion, in a deal announced Thursday morning.
“This combination creates a company that delivers maximum value for our shareholders, enormous opportunities for our employees and a superior experience for our customers,” said Robert D. Marcus, Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO, in a release.
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The new company will be led by Comcast CEO Neil Smit. As part of the deal, Comcast will purchase 100 percent of Time Warner Cable’s shares at a premium. Time Warner Cable shareholders will receive nearly $159 in Comcast stock as part of the deal, a value well above the $135.31 level at which the stock was trading at Wednesday’s close.
The move puts to an end months of overtures from No. 4 pay TV provider Charter Communications, as USA Today reports. That company had offered $132.50 per share to buy Time Warner in January, but Time Warner rejected the offer, demanding $160 per share, in a combination of cash and common stock. Though the Comcast deal is almost at that $160 per share mark, it does fall short of Time Warner’s prior demands in that it is an all-stock transaction.
As a result of the purchase, Comcast will take on 11 million Time Warner Cable subscribers, in addition to its 22 million TV subscribers. However, Comcast said it would also drop systems serving three million subscribers “in order to reduce competitive concerns,” giving the company a total of around 30 million subscribers and keeping its pay TV market share under 30 percent, according to a release.Though the merger of two giants within one industry might seem destined for antitrust issues, experts say the two companies may avoid some of these questions as their markets do not overlap, according to The Washington Post.