As Comcast continues its attempt to purchase Time Warner Cable, another deal announced today would see the cable industry shrink even further. Charter Communications, the fourth-largest cable provider in the US, has agreed to purchase competitor Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion in cash and stock. Bright House is the sixth-largest US provider, but Charter says the merged company would become the second biggest cable operator by customer volume if the deal successfully closes.
Charter had once signaled an interest in scooping up Time Warner Cable before Comcast came in with its own offer, which federal regulators are continuing to review (and Charter stands to gain from). This transaction will also require regulatory and shareholder approval, though it may not face quite the same level of scrutiny as Comcast's Time Warner Cable takeover or AT&T's current bid to buy DirecTV.
Bright House serves approximately 2 million customers in central Florida, according to a press release, including Orlando and Tampa Bay, plus other markets in Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, and California. "Bright House has built outstanding cable systems in attractive markets that are either complete, or contiguous with the New Charter footprint," said Charter CEO Tom Rutledge. "This acquisition enhances our scale, and solidifies New Charter as the second largest cable operator in the US."