Report: Charter Looking To Buy Cox Communications

Image courtesy of Justice Gustine

While it was rumored that Charter said “no thank you” to Verizon’s estimated $100 billion merger offer earlier this year because it just wasn’t enough money, new reports suggest the rejection was actually because Charter wanted to go on its own shopping spree, snatching up Cox Communications. 

The New York Post, citing sources familiar with the matter, reports that Charter is considering a play to purchase Cox Communications.

Cox, which has about 21 million customers, provides service in 18 states scattered through the U.S., including Massachusetts, Florida, Virginia, California, and Arizona. Charter, on the other hand, offers service to 27 million people in 28 states, including California, Missouri, and Michigan.

The sources say that Charter CEO Tom Rutledge is very interested in the Atlanta-base cable company, but that no formal approach has been made yet.

Still, Charter’s desire to acquire Cox could be all talk, as Cox has brushed off many advances from the company in the past.

DSLreports suggests that Charter has approached Cox several times since 2013 and been rejected each time.

That’s likely to be the case this time around, as well.

“Cox has been very clear and consistent that we are not for sale and, in fact, we’re aggressively investing in our network, products and strategic partnerships and investments of our own,” a rep for the company tells the NY Post.

But with a change of leadership poised to take place next year, sources say that Charter is hoping that Cox will be singing a different tune when it comes to a marriage.

Charter, of course, is no stranger to mergers. The company spent about $55 billion on acquiring Time Warner Cable and another $10 billion on Bright House Networks. But just because the company has experience in mergers, doesn’t mean it’s a pro at actually brining the companies together.

In fact, the combination with Time Warner and Bright House Networks has been a lengthy, complicated, and sometimes messy process.

Speaking of Charter’s merger woes, the New York Department of Public Service announced it had reached a potential $13 million settlement [PDF] with the company for its failure to meet deadlines to expand its network, a condition of its acquisition with Time Warner Cable.

“The Commission conditioned its approval of the merger on Charter’s agreement to undertake several types of investments and other activities,” Department Interim CEO Gregg C. Sayre said in a statement. “While Charter is delivering on many of them, it failed to expand the reach of its network to un-served and under-served communities and commercial customers in the time allotted.”

The settlement, which must still be approved, would require Charter to pay $1 million in grants for equipment to provide computer and internet access to low-income users, and to set aside $12 million as a security to meet its network expansion commitment going forward.

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