FT: Comcast, TWC in early stage talks to sell 3 million subscribers to Charter

Time-Warner-ComcastThe Financial Times has revealed in a Sunday report that bigwig cable TV operators Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) are negotiating the prospective sale of 3 million of their subscribers to smaller rival Charter Communications.

According to the report, the talks which Comcast and TWC are currently holding with Charter are in early stages; with the potential deal being valued at approximately $20 billion.

The report claims that there seemingly are two main options which Comcast and TWC are discussing with Charter --- the sale of subscribers to Charter, or an agreement in which Comcast and TWC set up a spin-off and sell a noteworthy minority position in the new company to Charter.

With Comcast having proposed the acquisition of TWC, the subscriber-sale move reported by FT is part of Comcast's commitment to divest systems which serve nearly 3 million managed subscribers. The divesting of the systems by Comcast will apparently reduce competitive concerns being raised over the company's TWC acquisition. For gaining antitrust approval for the acquisition deal, Comcast would eventually have to divest some more of its assets.

If Comcast and TWC can successfully work out the sale of 3 million subscribers, the two leading cable companies will still control one-third of the total U. S. market, with a total of almost 30 million cable subscribers. Charter will be at a distant second spot, with a total of nearly 5.5 million cable subscribers.