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Charter Turns Down Offer to Merge With Sprint, Now Softbank May Acquire Charter Itself

Phillip Dampier July 31, 2017 Charter Spectrum, Competition, Consumer News, Sprint, Wireless Broadband 1 Comment

Masayoshi Son, chairman of SoftBank Group

Charter Communications is a prime target for a takeover by Japanese giant SoftBank Group Corp., and chairman Masayoshi Son appears not to be willing to take no for an answer.

Last week, Charter executives rejected a bid by Son to combine Spectrum with Sprint, the nation’s number four wireless carrier controlled by SoftBank. Now Son is attempting to put together an offer Charter’s shareholders can’t refuse.

Son could make an announcement as early as this week, according to Bloomberg News.

SoftBank would be acquiring America’s second largest cable operator estimated to have a market value of $101 billion. SoftBank itself is worth approximately $89 billion. The Japanese conglomerate already carries $135 billion in debt, the second most indebted non-financial company in Japan, outdone only by Toyota.

For most Charter customers, a merger would make the second transition in two years, after Charter acquired Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

Son originally planned to combine Charter and Sprint into a new public company. Something similar would likely happen if SoftBank attempts a direct takeover of Charter Communications. Son’s investment in Sprint has not paid off. The wireless carrier has lost billions since SoftBank took control of Sprint in 2013.

“We understand why a deal is attractive for SoftBank, but Charter has no interest in acquiring Sprint,” Charter said in a statement over the weekend before Bloomberg reported Son’s latest plans. “We have a very good MVNO relationship with Verizon and intend to launch wireless services to cable customers next year.”

But Charter’s largest shareholder, Liberty Broadband Corp., controlled by Dr. John Malone, is interested in a deal bringing Charter together with a wireless carrier. But there is no word if Malone approves of a tie-up with Charter and SoftBank.

“Overall our view is that Charter likely does not want to sell, but that SoftBank is one of the few companies that could put a bid in big enough to take control,” analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co., led by Philip Cusick, said in a note. “While we don’t see a deal as very likely, especially given later headlines that Charter is cool to the idea, Masa is never to be counted out as a buyer.”

Son’s urgency to do a deal may be related to Sprint’s ongoing losses and the bonds used to finance that acquisition near maturity.

Currently there is 1 comment on this Article:

  1. AaronG says:

    well sh*t! if softbank gets ahold of charter we can say goodby to any DOCSIS 3.1 deployments and we sure as hell will never see a drop of fiber beyond the few test markets TWC and Charter had toyed with.







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