**Editor’s Note: Please click
for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in Q3 2013.**
Everybody wants Time Warner Cable.
On the heels of reports that Charter and Comcast are tussling for the second-largest cableco comes news that No. 3 Cox Communications wants in on the action, too.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg, citing an anonymous source close to the discussions, said a Cox-TWC deal could be a merger or outright acquisition. Spokesmen from Cox and TWC both declined to comment. Cox doesn’t have much of a channel program, so the implications of a Cox-TWC union for indirect partners are unclear. A Comcast or Charter deal seems to make more sense, despite the apparent drawbacks for the channel.
Rumors of cable consolidation are heating up as, on the consumer side, cablecos require more negotiating power with channel programmers (they’re losing ground to Internet rivals) and, on the enterprise side, would benefit from combined footprints.
A Charter-TWC tie-up could be a longer shot than a Comcast-TWC pairing. Charter holds a market cap of about $14 billion, while TWC’s totals almost $38 billion. Comcast boasts a $171 billion market cap. Of course, a Comcast-TWC union would invite intense regulatory and antitrust scrutiny, since the companies comprise the No. 1 and No. 2 cable providers in the United States, respectively. Cox is privately held.